THE JUNGLE OF THE SENSES - a field guide to mutants

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DeepBlueLake
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04 Apr 2009, 5:52 am

THE JUNGLE OF THE SENSES - a field guide to mutants, being DeepBlueLake's end-of-year essay.

In the jungle of the senses
Tinkerbell and Jack the Ripper

- Shriekback, "Nemesis"


PART ONE: ARE YOU AN NUTCASE TO BEGIN WITH? Erm, I mean

ARE YOU A MUTANT OR AN EMPATH?

Can you look into someone's eyes, listen to the sound of their voices, watch them moving around, and know - in your bones - what they're feeling inside?

If you can, chances are you're an empath, also known as a neurotypical - the vast majority of the human race whose main means of communication is an intuitive awareness of other people's emotions. Those whose sense of self, of what life's about and what people are, comes from these empathic experiences. Yes, empaths sit talking to each other, mouths flapping away, but the words are so often just something for them to do while they jam with each other's unconscious minds. Human communication is ninety percent non-verbal, or so the cliche goes.

But not for everybody. Some people have brains of an extreme shape and function. They can't perform the empathy trick. They've evolved for other things.

Yes, the world is full of mutants, or if you prefer, nutcases. Quite why we're here is a mystery to most people. Why didn't evolution just get rid of us?

There's a price for everything, empathy included. The price of empathy is the Matrix. A dreamworld of arbitrary meaning, some of it corresponding with the real world, and much of it total bollocks. And God! how the empaths stumble around it it. They can be led like little children. Just put something in empathic language and they'll follow. If you don't believe me, go to your local shopping mall and watch. Worse still, anything that doesn't seem to empathise with them, seems terrifying.

Empaths sit huddled around the campfire, trying to ignore the primeval jungle around them. They watch each other's faces in the flicker of the flames and feel reassured that nothing's ever going to be terribly different. They're very susceptible to panic. And I'm using panic in the way that the ancient Greeks used it - the terror of the deep dark forest, the land outside the reassuring human world.

Obviously, if you want your tribe to spread through the forest, be fruitful and multiply, and see what's beyond the trees, empathy isn't enough. You need a brain whose primal terrors and desires lead it to appreciate something other than the human soul. Enter the mutants. Now, I'm not saying that mutants don't panic (just do a forum search for "meltdown" on WP), but it's not at the same stuff. The mutant mind reacts in atypical ways, allowing us to explore different parts of that darkness without inhibition.

But are we just random eccentrics, or is there some kind of pattern? Is the brain of a mutant just messed up, or is there more to it? In this discussion, I'd like to explore four groups of strange people, or more accurately, four traits that make people strange. To do this, I'll use an analogy that most people can understand - the lens of a camera. As Hannibal Lecter would say, it's a blunt little tool, and sterotypes will abound; but it might still shed some light.



Last edited by DeepBlueLake on 04 Apr 2009, 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

DeepBlueLake
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04 Apr 2009, 5:54 am

PART TWO: THE MIND'S OWN LENS

(This is an expanded version of a previous post, "Stand Still, Dammit!")

Got a camera? Like photography? Imagine the brain like the lens of a camera.

First of all, I'd like to talk about shutter speed. That's simply the length of time that the lens blinks open to let light in. Usually it's a fraction of a second, although it can be far longer.

Now, come with me on a thought experiment. Put your camera on a tripod, and get a friend to pose. Set the shutter speed at one second, and have your friend stand with their hands by their sides. Now, let them raise one hand slowly into the air, and as they do so, take a photograph.

When you look at the photograph, you'll see that the moving arm makes a blur through the air. The arm is smeared and see-through against the background. The arm's not inside the blur, it is the blur.

If you measure the blur against, say, the known size of your friend's body, you might deduce that the arm had moved one foot during the exposure. You might also see that the blur was curved, giving you an idea of where the hand might well have been a second after the photograph was taken. So, the hand was going at one foot per second, and heading in a curve towards their ear.

But where, exactly, is the hand? Like I said, it's nowhere exact. It's smeared across time and space.

Now for photograph number two. Set the shutter speed to something very short, like a thousandth of a second. This time, the hand seems to be perfectly still, not moving at all. It's in sharp focus, all the lines and wrinkles of the skin visible. If you measure its height compared to your friend's body, you might find it was, say, four feet six inches above the floor.

But how fast was it going? And what direction was it moving? With such an invisibly small amount of motion blur, there's just no way of knowing. The hand could be standing absolutely still, going up and down, revolving... you just don't know.

This is what scientists call the Uncertainty Principle. You can know the momentum of something, or its position, but never the two together, at least not in exact figures. You can know one factor or the other precisely, or you can get an approximate combination of the two.

But what has this got to do with us?

Put your fingers on your wrist. Unless you're a vampire or something, you'll feel a pulse. Your mind has a pulse too, a much faster one, sampling what your senses are telling it in little bursts. Of course, these samples blend together in your mind like the frames of a movie, giving the impression of a continuous experience.

My belief is that, in autism, the shutter speed of the mind is unusually short. An autistic brain samples the world around it in highly-precise, clearly-focused samples that give a very clear picture of things, but without any motion blur to tell you where they're going to. We can see objects well enough, but our sense of how they move is poor. Stuff seems to be moving faster or slower than it really is. Things end up in places different to where they look like they're going.

This gives autists problems with co-ordination. We're bad at sports. It's often hard for us to know where a ball is heading for. Throw something at us and we'll likely fumble the catch.

But this is nothing - nothing! - compared to the effect it has on our empathy.

Since human body language consists of tiny, subtle movements, it's unreadable with that short shutter speed. You can learn to recognise intellectually what an expression or a gesture means, but at an intuitive, emotional level you get zip, nada, bupkes. You can't see where the football's going, and you can't see where someone's mind is going, either. Most people find this hard to imagine. So come with us, empath, and see the world through autistic eyes.



Last edited by DeepBlueLake on 04 Apr 2009, 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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04 Apr 2009, 5:56 am

PART THREE: SPOCK'S BRAIN

Yes, it's the same place as you see. The furniture and surroundings are identical. But this is still Aspergia, and the view is subtly altered. Everything seems to be separate. Chairs and tables seem to pop out in 3D, standing a hairsbreadth above the floor. The fruit bowl, the pen, they seem to be not-quite-but-almost hovering over the desk, along with fifteen (you count them, almost without thinking about it) other objects.

And the world itself seems to be playing on a tiny portable TV set in the corner of your mind. It's an effort to keep focused on its boring little picture. Inside your head is a vast treasure of memory and imagination, endlessly playable and plastic. Your own private internet of the senses - hear Mozart in colour, watch Star Wars with a different cast and soundtrack.

Somebody comes into the room. Astonishment! It's like watching a documentary, when all you've ever seen is glamorously-produced feature films. Grainy video, under-or-over-exposed as they move from shade to light, the roar of background noise high on the soundtrack. No mood music, no arty lighting, no special effects, just in-your-face reportage.

They look at you and smile, and you feel nothing. All you observe is the tightening and loosening of the mouth, signifying a good chance - better than fifty percent, anyway - that they're happy.

"How are you?" they ask, and you repeat, from memory, "I'm fine".

You feel nervous. This being seems like a dangerous wild dog. God only knows what comforts it, and what spurs it to attack. Everything you do in its presence is based around its volatile emotions. Intimacy only lasts until it notices you aren't really reading its eyes, only its words. At that moment, a smirk starts to spread, wider and wider, across its face. And a gulf between the both of you opens up, now and for evermore.

You turn your face to the wall. Blank colour replaces the awfulness of eyes, like cool water pouring onto a scald. The person is now chatting to somebody else. Your shoulders sag a little in relief.

It might be interesting to remember your errands for the rest of the day. Your foot starts to twitch back and forth in a staccato rhythm. Your whole awareness of the room and the people shrinks down into that tightness of muscles, up-down, up-down, freeing your attention, which returns to the palace of your mind. In a series of images, still and precise, you sort out what you have to do.

So is this a disability? Not necessarily. Autism gives you an unparalleled appreciation of everything static, repetitive or predictable. Things that stand too still for other people to notice, glitter for us. We see the diamonds on the disco floor, the theory behind the practise, the eternity behind the living moment. We cannot bear the light of the human soul. It's excruciating to look into your harsh spotlight of a face. But we see the darkness beyond that light. Our mind's eye is specialised and adapted for it. And we take the things we find in that darkness, and make them real in this world. Space travel. Tampons. The internet.

You're welcome.

And all we ask is that you don't ask us to stare into the shrieking light of your soul. Let us avert our eyes, and don't judge us weak for it. After all, your ears are just as sensitive. We can make words just as nasty and harsh as your eyes can be to us. Yes, your big podgy arse does indeed look fat in that. It looks f*****g fat in anything.

See? Truth hurts you, just as magic hurts us. So spare us the magic, and we won't tell you the truth :wink:

But ultra-short isn't the only mutant shutter speed. Oh, no. There is, of course, the ultra-long exposure.

To describe this vision, I have to go into a place of rather dismal memories.



DeepBlueLake
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04 Apr 2009, 5:58 am

PART FOUR: MY FATHER'S HOUSE

My father's house is a very different place. Here, the passing of one moment is absorbed for such a long time that it melts into the preceding moment, and the one that's to come.

There is no real passage of time here, just one endless instant of dreaming, each dream merging into the next. Now is the only thing that exists. Eternity is not understood, at least not at an intuitive level. It is, like the autist's grasp of empathy, something for other people's minds. The past is remembered, the future imagined, but only as we toy with memories of last night's dreams. It's not real the way it is for autists, like a mouthful of gravel on a cold monday morning. Just a dream.

This is the mirror mind, the kind that zen masters strive after, even when they're not supposed to strive. Life as one glorious hot day by the riverbank, crocodiles basking in the sunshine. Lazy, lazy, then zipzap-fast and violent. Then peace again, and the sexy smell of dung in the air. While the autist thinks in pictures and precise ideas, this inner world is a world of scent. People smell dirty, but in different ways. A timid, shy person smells dirty like an old sweaty sock, musty and choking. A beautiful girl smells gloriously dirty, like the smell of your own crotch and backside does to you.

But this is no riverbank. It's a room, a lounge, an office, a bar. Anywhere. And these crocodiles look human.

You come into the room. The psychopath turns his attention to you. Before you've even noticed him -

Your body reveals a thousand little poker tells to his mind, in a fraction of a heartbeat. In his eternal now, there's enough time to count them all many times over. In fact he doesn't so much count them as see the wiggle that they all add up to. Irresistibly, his body snakes and wiggles with it, matching the subtleties of your body language, radiating a masterful impersonation of you. As far as your soul is concerned, it's gazing at its own reflection. And you're hooked.

The psychopath doesn't see a series of events, just a serpentine blur of change, rippling around him. How he responds to this change is not thought out or analysed, but purely intuitive. He sees his life happening as if on a movie screen. He cannot understand why people are angry at him for lashing out if he's threatened. No more than you would be for swearing if you burned your finger on the stove. The words would be out of you before you knew what you were doing. The psychopath feels the same way after smashing someone on the head with a chair.

He rides the arcs of movement around him like a rollercoaster. Cruising downhill at speed, how can he - how can he? - stop in time? It's beyond imagining.

And where is this rollercoaster going? Always towards power. Psychopaths are instinctively hierarchical. They never, ever stop picking away to try and get some advantage. To ruin or humiliate others is a soaring high, like Beethoven's Ode to Joy bursting in your head. YESSSS! BADOOOM! MEEEEEE! MEEEEEE! There can be only one! :twisted:

And if you are small, cute and fluffy, don't ever go into a room with a psychopath. For a psychopath, especially a young one, there's no musical instrument quite like the domestic cat. And if you are a psychopath going into a room with a cat, make sure nobody sees you. For all this jungle speed, this full embrace of the living moment, psychopaths have a terrible grasp of things like eternity, truth, and certainty. And all the things that go with them, like laws. And consequences. A huge number of psychopaths end up in jail, or at least hated and driven out of town. It's not the glamorous life that film and TV makes it out to be.

These two unique visions, while wildly different, have one thing in common. They both see the world as essentially unmagical. Although autists and psychopaths can feel pleasure at the world, there's seldom any notion of the sacred, or mystical. To understand why, we need to go back to our lens again.



DeepBlueLake
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04 Apr 2009, 6:00 am

PART FIVE: THE LIGHT FANTASTIC

The shutter speed isn't the only control. You also have the iris ring setting, also known as the f-stop. This alters the size of the hole through which the light passes on its way to the film. You might think of it as the camera's brightness control. It also has another effect, the depth of field.

Get your friend again, and stand them in front of the camera. Focus the lens on them. Select a little narrow f-stop like f64 (the higher the number, the smaller the hole). Your picture should be very dark indeed. If you ask your friend to move closer to the camera, or further away, you'll see that their face stays in focus most of the time.

But now change the f-stop to something humungous like f2 or f1.4. Now, the picture is flooded with light. But this time, if your friend moves nearer or further, they will go out of focus almost at once. You'll have to keep readjusting the focus as they move.

So - a dark, deeply-focused picture, or bright, shallow focus.

Of course, we're not talking real light here. Not the stuff that your eyes relay to you directly. We're talking about octarine, the colour of magic. Your sense of what is conscious and alive.

Autists see the world of things (static systems) as fascinating and attractive, but not really alive. Psychopaths see the world of people (dynamic systems) as fascinating and attractive, but no more special than animals. Both go around starved of octarine. The narrow f-stop lets autists focus deeply on the past and future, and lets psychopaths experience the intensity of the moment in incredible detail - but it means that both types of minds are deprived of magic.

What if we could widen the f-stop of the human mind? What would happen to an autist if you could reach inside and twist a dial?

WHOOOOMPH!

Welcome to the world of the schizophrenic.

Welcome to a world of talking lamp-posts, threatening ornaments, and a brain that answers you back when you think. Schizophrenics see and hear God everywhere. A living, talking, conscious world seems to surround them. Instead of autistic clarity, there's a holiness - or a holy terror - everywhere they look. Even the simple chemistry of their emotions takes on personality and identity.

Just as the mind of the autist reflects the non-human world, the mind of the schizophrenic sees its own reflection there, wherever it looks. Sometimes it's inspiring. There's usually some trace of schizophrenic thought in the worlds of art and spirituality. But too much and you go into meltdown, crouching behind the wardrobe and pulling tinfoil over your head to keep the Martian/CIA mindprobes from scanning you.

Or do you, necessarily? Only about a third of people who hear voices consider themselves to be schizophrenic. Perhaps paranoid schizophrenia is the low-functioning form of voice-hearing, or what happens when a voice-hearer is subjected to periods of prolonged stress. Many voice-hearers point to the work of Julian Jaynes, who believed the phenomenon to have been far more common, and accepted, in the ancient world.

There is, of course, one option left for our lens. Open up the f-stop, set a long exposure, and flood the mind with the light fantastic, searingly intense and bright. Ouch.



DeepBlueLake
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04 Apr 2009, 6:06 am

PART SIX: THE SKINLESS SOUL

Inescapable octarine light burns down onto sensitive - usually female - nerves. The world of the borderline, erupting with meaning and magic whenever another person walks by, is a wild ride. Like some tortured soul from a Clive Barker story, the borderline has no emotional skin, shuddering and wincing at the least dissonance in human relationships. Tell them in the wrong tone of voice that you're going down to the shops, and it shreds their nerves.

Why would this be an advantage to anybody?

Grief, pain and suffering come to all of us. And whenever a borderline notices it, she'll put her arms round it and kiss it better. Comfort is their gift, comfort and caring. The healthcare industry runs on the backs of borderlines, or empaths brought up with borderline values. The nurse who works on for crap pay, the teacher who stays behind to help the kids, the social worker who treads the grim tower-blocks to bring charity to the poor - only by attending to the pain of others can they escape their own constant mental torture.

The borderline's intense sensitivity makes them unusually aware of pain in other people. Wherever there is imbalance or injustice, wherever someone cries out in pain, the borderline will come running with all the vengeance of Hades in her eyes. Never let the tears and tantrums fool you. Borderlines are no cowards. They're the ones who went to the wall, went to jail, went to the torture rooms in the twentieth century's long struggle against totalitarianism. Their own postmodern Christ, Che Guevara, still stares out from a million posters and T-shirts. Threaten a borderline with martyrdom and they'll tell you, "Bring it on!".

Shame is their weapon. In the ancient past, warriors were ten a penny. But if a tribe lost its healer, that was it. Finito. Hurting a borderline is a deep taboo in human consciousness, and borderlines know it.

With all this selfless giving going on, you might be mistaken for thinking that borderlines are the "good guys". Bad mistake. Borderlines can be as vicious and callous as psychopaths. The difference is that borderlines direct their venom up the hierarchy, rather than down it, picking on the strong rather than the weak. While psychopaths always try to erect a top-bottom power structure, even when it causes damage, borderlines try to bring equilibrium wherever they go - even if it's harmful. Visit websites like AngryHarry and GlennSacks to see the sheer cruelty that borderlines inflict on anyone they see as having too much power, no matter if that power is being used for good. Borderlines also have a psychopath's inability to see anything they do as evil. Their common cry, when accused of nasty s**t, is; "They MADE me do it! No fault of mine!"

Pickled in octarine, borderlines instinctively think in magical terms. The New Age movement is the spiritual arm of the borderline mind, just as Satanism is for psychopaths. Reiki, moxibustion, alternative healing, the whole world of weekend workshops and therapy groups is the fruit of the borderline worldview. Its capital is probably San Francisco.

Curiously, for healers, they are often unhealthy themselves. Perhaps it is the stress of relating to people when your sense of empathy is plugged into the Glastonbury rock festival amplifiers. Perhaps it's the use of magical thinking against non-magical problems like germs. As much as Machiavelli sits on a psychopath's shelves, so does that little bottle of Bach rescue remedy sit on the shelves of borderlines.



Last edited by DeepBlueLake on 04 Apr 2009, 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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04 Apr 2009, 6:07 am

PART SEVEN: MUTANTS IN HISTORY

This part, more than any other, is just speculation. But I sometimes wonder if civilisations are defined by which mutants are popular and influential in society.

Civilisation begins, as did the human race, with psychopaths. Not the hopeless criminal type, but what some psychologists call "compensated" psychopaths. Men who had learned to restrain their destructive impulses sufficiently that they were a net gain to their society, rather than a net loss. In the English-speaking world, this could include bruiser kings like Henry the Fifth and Henry the Eighth - absolutely ruthless men, violent and merciless, but who knew where to stop before the peasants turned up with torches and pitchforks.

By the time the Elizabethan age arrived, the psychopath had matured into the privateer - men like Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, all the gentlemen adventurers who went forth to kick ass and win lands and treasure for the crown. Privateering was the plum job for psychopaths - the moral grey area between where the navy ended and the pirates began.

But although psychopaths are great at setting stuff up, they're hopeless at keeping it going. Little by little, they have to bring autists onto the scene. Autists make crap kings, but fantastic grand viziers. The king starts to cede more and more power to his ministers and his bankers.

The turning point for this patriarchy was the English civil war. The dull, prim roundheads saw off the flamboyant, romantic cavaliers. Government started to be about rules, rather than whims. The hierarchy moves from feudalism - who's the best warrior, to class - who's the best at seeing the future. Shades of this also come into the American revolution and civil war. Around this time, you also get the rise of Calvinism; a deeply unromantic, low-magic form of Christianity, more easily digestible by the autistic mind.

Soon, the industrial revolution breaks out. The golden age of autism blossoms in the Anglo-Saxon world. The engineer as hero. Stephenson, Brunel, Faraday, Einstein - and their fictional counterparts, Sherlock Holmes and Phileas Fogg. Of course, the psychos are still out there building the empire, but now their battles are fought like monster chess games, with technology an increasing factor in victory and advantage. Wars are controlled by banks, not kings.

Sadly, nothing lasts forever. Autists are born old. Childhood is almost an alien concept to them, and the world they create becomes increasingly unfriendly to children or those of a magical cast of mind.

Have you seen the movie The Elephant Man? That's a great illustration of how ugly autistic compassion can seem. Hospitals dreary as prisons, frightening machinery, unfeeling medical procedures. And right in the middle of it, the most pathetically wounded being the world has ever seen. Someone made almost entirely of scars, who out-jesuses Jesus in the amount of s**t he's taken whilst still remaining a nice young man who loves his mother.

It's a borderline's wet dream.

Eventually, the borderlines get fed up. The long patriarchal phase of the civilisation starts to ebb away, and the buildup towards a matriarchal period begins. Ideas like socialism begin. A revulsion grows for the dry, unsexy class system and its contempt for the romantic mind. In Britain, the National Health Service and the cradle-to-grave welfare state kick off. Popular culture becomes more and more dominated by the young. Unrestrained sexuality bursts forth.

The symbolic turning point probably comes in 1969, with man's landing on the moon capping off the age of autism, and the social revolutions of that year bringing borderline values to the western world.

Sadly, nothing lasts forever. The matriarchal phase is all too short. Like the patriarchy with its Kirk-then-Spock phases, the matriarchy has a beneficent Freya phase, followed by a destructive Kali phase, or to put it more crudely, bra-burning then thong-flashing. We're on the downslope of the Kali phase right now.

Trouble is, borderlines tend to breed an army of the helpless. They can't stand anyone having too much power or too much individual strength. Also, they can't bear the thought of hurting a child, even enough to kill the latent psychopath in it. Their carefree playground-society starts to be stalked by greater and greater numbers of psychopaths. Psychopathic behaviour becomes more and more acceptable. Look at the music of the sixties, how innocent and childlike it seems next to the cynical edge of modern pop. The psychos return; confident, strong, and now, freed from the threat of patriarchal discipline, utterly uncompensated.

Psychopathic messages abound; live now, pay later; it's all about you; image is everything; because you're worth it. Dating and courtship turn into a nasty game of mutual exploitation and disrespect. Governments, business, even banks are allowed to do whatever they like, as long as it looks good.

Certainly, this can't last forever. Eventually the crash comes. This means you.

And afterwards?

Often, the civilisation is simply wiped out or enslaved by others at this point. If not, it goes through a long fallow period. Ours is still to come. China is waking up from its own fallow time. The Islamic world is still fallow after the collapse of its own empire.

Everyone's stumbling about in the rubble, driven mad by the collapse. This is a world they've never seen before. No work, no dole. No cops, no phone. No electricity, fire brigade or water to flush the toilet with. What do you do? Only one group of people are used to this level of insanity. The schizophrenics come forth and, maybe for the first time in their lives, start picking up the pieces. They become the new prophets, the religious teachers who put what has happened into some kind of context for the survivors. They found the new faiths, and help get things going again. People resolve not to listen to psychopaths or borderlines for a long, long time. And as for us, the autists? We do our best to preserve the useful knowledge of the past. Scribbling away through the long nights in monasteries - it's probably what we wanted all along.



Last edited by DeepBlueLake on 04 Apr 2009, 6:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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04 Apr 2009, 6:11 am

PART OCTARINE: THE CIGARETTE AFTERWARDS

Humans a strange species to begin with. Ask any animal. It's inevitable that we'll find each other strange. Mutants are everywhere, with strengths and weaknesses, giving things to the world and breaking the world at the same time. We, the autists, are one shade of that strange spectrum. To us, even other mutants are strange.

Are autists schizophrenics who can't hear?

Are psychopaths autists who know how to give the bastards hell?

Are borderlines psychopaths who like kittens?

Are schizophrenics borderlines who scream at teapots rather than men?

OR

Are borderlines just very political schizophrenics?

Are psychopaths borderlines who can keep their cool?

Are autists psychopaths who bully numbers not people?

Are schizophrenics autists with a telephone to God?

OR

Does the world work best when psychopaths build hierarchies, borderlines build equilibrium, autists become the impartial judges of which works best in which situation, whilst schizophrenics inject chaos into the system like yeast in a brewery - and the empaths learn to take everything we mutants say with a pinch of salt?

OR

Are mutants as a whole simply fucked-up empaths who just don't get it?

Maybe we should ask the bipolars.


Ladies and gentlemen, this essay, longer than my usual outpourings, represents what I've learned or thought about in the year since my diagnosis as an Aspergian, at the age of (cue HitchHiker music 8) ) forty-two. I doubt I'll ever be able to answer all these questions, but if my ideas have helped or stimulated any of the wonderful people I've met on Wrong Planet, I'm happy, and it's been well worth the coffee and stimming I've spent on it. Comments and crits are very welcome.

See you next time,

Douglas



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04 Apr 2009, 8:35 am

Hi, Douglas. This is only a brief and rather inadequate response, I'm afraid, but I wanted to let you know that I found your writings interesting. I'd need more time to ponder them before committing myself to any further response, I think. You certainly have a distinctive style, though. I'm one of those damned NT empaths, I must confess, but perhaps not too blinded by empathy to have some awareness of truth as well. Anyway, best wishes, Jenny.



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04 Apr 2009, 10:27 am

Hmm... Very interesting. A colourful picture, indeed. In fact, I can relate to elements from all four of your mutant classifications, and the shutter metaphor is quite an apt one. It makes me wonder about whether there exists some of us who are actually in control of our mental f-stops and shutter speeds, whether consciously or completely automatically in response to various environments and thought processes. I know there are times in my life when my thoughts have probably fit the bill for all of those patterns, but usually they're some strange mixture of multiple extremes... Never a mere empath, though. Never average, but rather like a quantum existence between both edges at once rather than in the middle.

A word of caution, though, that you may simply be trying to enforce order to chaos with this structure, to create patterns where perchance none exist... Although from my interpretation I believe there are elements from all four influencing your thoughts on the matter as well. How to blend them into a coherent whole is perhaps the greatest and most prominent challenge we all face. I like the way you've done it. It makes sense; it's clean, coherent, and seems to cover all the bases almost to a thematic extent. Your thoughts on human civilization being a cyclical transmission of alignment/dominance between the four mutant types are also quite intriguing... They highlight the situations in which the relative strengths of each come best into play; when they are the most useful.

I may consider showing this to some friends, as I think it has good potential for developing understanding and bringing a new, clear perspective onto things. Have you ever considered trying to publish? However, it seems to be written primarily for autists, but I think it would be the most beneficial to 'empaths' to read this. The problem there is that in the early parts of the essay you are rather harsh towards empaths, and knowing them it would turn most of them off towards hearing or having an open mind towards the ideas that follow. While I'm normally a proponent of telling it like it is and not sugar coating the facts just for the benefit of those who can't take it, in this case if you are considering making this essay widespread I'd tone it down simply because the people who would benefit most from education in this area are also the ones the most resistant to it in terms of indignation, unwillingness to entertain negative criticism, and general closed-mindedness. You usually have to find ways to circumnavigate those mental blocks to get the message across.

All in all, great essay, one I'm sure most autists would appreciate, although I'm not quite as sure about other 'mutants', and the only glaring problem I see is that it's unlikely many empaths will read it or read into it at all.


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04 Apr 2009, 11:41 am

Jenny and Bob - thank you for taking the time to read this, it is a bit of a doorstop, I know!

Yes, I'd probably turn down the vitriol a bit if I were writing this for neurotypical readers. There are plenty of people on WP with scars and war stories from their experiences with normal people, and I'm no different. We certainly don't hate neurotypicals here at WP, we just resent the idea that empathic relationships are the only ones worth having, or that neurotypicality is the only headstate one should aspire to.

Bob - I probably am trying to impose order on chaos! If you go to the Wikipedia article on autism, you'll see two pictures of small children doing this instinctively with household objects. Order out of chaos is a prime - or primal - directive within many autists.

My ideas for this essay came from reading studies into the relationship between autism and schizophrenia. It came to me that these personality types both seem to be rather introverted. If we add extroversion to the mix, I believe we can also account for some aspects of psychopathy and borderline personality disorder.

Inventor - thanks for your PM. I hope the forum posting is working for you now.



Last edited by DeepBlueLake on 04 Apr 2009, 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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04 Apr 2009, 12:50 pm

Try again.

I found it insightful, I would not water it down, I would expand it.

My views on empath are the same as politically correct, lets all imagine an imaginary person, and pretend that we are all that person.

It is said we lack imaginary play.

As was said, we all see all of these characters, and hide them, telling the truth makes waves, not a team player.

Seeking within, it does not matter if it as Julian Janes says, the gods did this, or if it said so in Wiki, either way it is seeking answers outside the herd mentality.

Those in the herd are just the same, only they play the game.

Mental health is based on pretend play, and imaginary characrters.

The concept of "Normal", we are all the same.

Life is a role playing game, and some of us look past the edge.

Sometimes the edge is front and center.

There are no non-mutants.



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04 Apr 2009, 1:59 pm

Inventor: you may be right saying there are no mutants. It's my belief that psychopathy is an ancient, default operating system of the human mind - from a time long before human consciousness had fully evolved. It probably precedes Jaynes's bicameral mind.

If the right conditioning is applied in childhood, this system switches off and is replaced by something more constructive. What we think of today as psychopaths are simply those whose brains were too extreme to take the conditioning, or who didn't get the conditioning at a tender enough age.

From that point of view, you could say that neurotypicality is a mutation caused by applying certain non-lethal traumas ("NO! You do NOT pull your little brother's hair out! NO!") to young psychopaths.



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04 Apr 2009, 3:36 pm

All true, but then you teach a psychopath that it is wrong to be caught. They then learn to appear good, while feeding their little brother rat poison.

You can't prove it becomes the opperating system.

The most recent psychopath I met had a store, when it was just us, he was a vile creature, but when the door buzzer signaled a customer, he put on a smile and a happy childlike self to greet them.

Neurotypicals are only repressed Psychotics.

While I lack faith in the system, which has to do with me being seen as outside the bonds of social behavior. Someone they can both attack and blame, I also find it useful.

Mutants are a small and somewhat obvious minority. Our prisons are filled not with psychotics, but with the Neurotypical.

Some psychotics make great business managers, they get paid to manipulate.

While the press always seeks the Loner tag, it does fit most. Most crime I have seen they were just good upstanding workers, family, church, and ignoring the string of bodies over twenty years, perfect citizens.

All the mutants together are a sliver of a minority.

While all efforts go to repressing them, they are open examples of the thinking that comes out of Neurotypicals. They are much more likely to deal with the mental health system than the courts.

America has some 15,000,000 involved in jail, probation, parole, and all of ASDs might total 3,000,000 who are not in jail.

I doubt if Psychopaths are that common, so most recyling through the justice system are Neurotypical.

being Normal seems the greatest danger to others.

What I like about your orderly system is it does include all. The Psychopath was very good to his dog.

It was just that other aspects of life did not have such clear guidelines.

Psychopaths get to much attention anyway. No one ever tells and Autist to not do nothing. It is the same as letting the psychos run wild, to not force engagment on the naturally so introverted they could be clams.

Just because you are an Autist does not protect you on nights when the Moon is full and red, rising over the rim. Or when long annoyed to suddenly lash out in anger. Those feeling exist, and learning to deal with them, but playing the manipulating psychopath game, can end them. Everything is useful in it's place.

When I have a problem in printing I seek the Hyper Awareness of Schizophrenics, and let it go once the problem is solved.

I would consider Neurotypical as the center of thought, containing all, and only a few who get stuck outside the edge stand out. Most have everything, but can let it go.

The curse of Autist, we cannot. We just have a different center, but can play all the rest.

On us vs Neurotypical, we lose before the game starts, but us among all, we have an advantage.

While the labels come from people who hate us and wish were were extirminated, they are still talking about useful human skills.

It is said that Psychologists look within and see raging mental illness, all of them, which they struggle to control, and then project on to others who show traits that they hide.

They are an aware Neurotypical, it is a construction of total madness, and my view is Chinese food and a beer makes it all worthwhile.

I find Police to be reasonably sane. They wish to get bad people out of the world. They do not spend every day with criminals, as Phychologists do in their field.

In their defensiveness, they label others, always seeking those worse than themselves. This of course continually moves their borders outward, to Hanibal Lector Land.

They seem to hate people they can label but not drug or lock up, Hi! I'm an Autist, and enjoying being myself.

So by your description Neurotypical is all of the above.

Most Autists do lack Psychopathic traits. I know it took me a long time to develop them. I would rank it with shooting pool, just another skill, useful in a game of pool.

At least I have one strong starting point, Autist, something I can depend on.



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04 Apr 2009, 5:29 pm

I'd say that nowadays, society has a marked bias towards extrovert people. This means that the dark sides of both psychopaths and borderlines are seen as less remarkable than the strangeness of autists or schizophrenics.

Take a look at the many complaints raised in the "Love and Dating" forum here. Behaviour that would have been thought unacceptably anti-social fifty years ago, is now considered fine and dandy. Bored with your partner? Walk off and find someone more exciting, there's no shame in it. Laugh at the introverts? Why not? Cheat, humiliate, use and backstab, as long as you're cool and stylish about it, nobody's going to complain - why, you might even get your own TV show if you're chic enough in your cruelty.

Cops do deal with a lot of psychopaths, but they tend to be the unintelligent type who fly off the handle easily, and become violent. The more disciplined psychos slip past the cops and often end up as their bosses, in the world of politics.

As for psychologists, I can only offer this brilliant quote from Thomas Harris: "I don't consider psychology a science. Neither did Dr Lecter." Psychologists are trying to construct a new zodiac based on what happened to you in childhood, rather than when and where you were born. I think neuroscience may have more to say about the human mind than the quasi-mystical philosophies of psychotherapy.

As for myself, I spent a year and a half - miserably - in a gestalt therapy group, having the empath model of communication shoved down my throat. This was before my diagnosis. The therapist never even bothered to consider if a physical anomaly might be involved. I may be cynical after that experience, but I believe that psychotherapy is a racket. In its own respectable, middle-class way, it's a form of prostitution. The therapist gets paid to listen to the kind of whining that nobody else will put up with, just as the bank manager pays Madam to give him his spanking.

My own therapist even admitted, "it's a competitive field", and worried about losing patients to the Freudians down the road.

Wilhelm Reich, the first sex therapist, eventually gave up trying to "cure" people. "You cannot make a twisted tree grow straight," he said.

If you get certain illnesses, your skin can erupt in sores as the body pushes the poison out of itself. That doesn't mean the sores are a bad thing. Likewise, many so-called psychological disturbances are just natural reactions to a sh***y, anti-human society.

Take borderlines, with their infamous irrational terror of abandonment. Having seen my own mum suffer and struggle as a single mother, I can't find that terror irrational at all, any more than feeling terror in the presence of an angry lion. Abandonment in a cold, hard world is a terribly cruel thing, especially with a baby to look after, and maybe borderlines are more sensible that others in kicking up a fuss about it.



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04 Apr 2009, 5:30 pm

I'd say that nowadays, society has a marked bias towards extrovert people. This means that the dark sides of both psychopaths and borderlines are seen as less remarkable than the strangeness of autists or schizophrenics.

Take a look at the many complaints raised in the "Love and Dating" forum here. Behaviour that would have been thought unacceptably anti-social fifty years ago, is now considered fine and dandy. Bored with your partner? Walk off and find someone more exciting, there's no shame in it. Laugh at the introverts? Why not? Cheat, humiliate, use and backstab, as long as you're cool and stylish about it, nobody's going to complain - why, you might even get your own TV show if you're chic enough in your cruelty.

Cops do deal with a lot of psychopaths, but they tend to be the unintelligent type who fly off the handle easily, and become violent. The more disciplined psychos slip past the cops and often end up as their bosses, in the world of politics.

As for psychologists, I can only offer this brilliant quote from Thomas Harris: "I don't consider psychology a science. Neither did Dr Lecter." Psychologists are trying to construct a new zodiac based on what happened to you in childhood, rather than when and where you were born. I think neuroscience may have more to say about the human mind than the quasi-mystical philosophies of psychotherapy.

As for myself, I spent a year and a half - miserably - in a gestalt therapy group, having the empath model of communication shoved down my throat. This was before my diagnosis. The therapist never even bothered to consider if a physical anomaly might be involved. I may be cynical after that experience, but I believe that psychotherapy is a racket. In its own respectable, middle-class way, it's a form of prostitution. The therapist gets paid to listen to the kind of whining that nobody else will put up with, just as the bank manager pays Madam to give him his spanking.

My own therapist even admitted, "it's a competitive field", and worried about losing patients to the Freudians down the road.

Wilhelm Reich, the first sex therapist, eventually gave up trying to "cure" people. "You cannot make a twisted tree grow straight," he said.

If you get certain illnesses, your skin can erupt in sores as the body pushes the poison out of itself. That doesn't mean the sores are a bad thing. Likewise, many so-called psychological disturbances are just natural reactions to a sh***y, anti-human society.

Take borderlines, with their infamous irrational terror of abandonment. Having seen my own mum suffer and struggle as a single mother, I can't find that terror irrational at all, any more than feeling terror in the presence of an angry lion. Abandonment in a cold, hard world is a terribly cruel thing, especially with a baby to look after, and maybe borderlines are more sensible than others in kicking up a fuss about it.