Wednesday, 17 December 2008

the dreaded word

I don’t think I have ever told members of my family that I love them; I have never hugged anyone and felt comfortable about it, and I have never been in love with a woman. The reason is I don’t really know what it means or what it really entails. Of course I can consciously think of an explanation, such as to care about someone or a mutual attraction but why say something I don’t really understand? How am I supposed to act and what am I supposed to receive in return? The only two things I can think of are doing things for each other such as favours, and sharing common interests, but then that could apply to the average acquaintance.

I am 25 years old; I have never had a girlfriend as sad as it sounds to the NT. One could accuse me of being asexual or even homosexual, which is far from the truth. I have my fair share of lustful urges towards women like any other heterosexual man. I have had my fair of opportunities, I have talked to women and not got very far, a conversation would last about a minute and then the awkward silence would hit with a vengeance.

Of course you cannot miss something you have never had, but I would really like to know what I am missing, as everyone seems to base their whole life, decisions and cognition over it. As much as my life is based around routine and my interests, I do often ponder over what I could have, whether I am really human.

Of course I have emotions, but I am barely in touch with them or what they really are. It is a human desire to attract a mate/companion. I often picture my ideal companion as being exactly like me, just in female form, due to the fact I am unable to comprehend or appreciate any other way of thinking. This was and still is my perfect partner, as unrealistic as this, because perfection is impossible.

The word love and the concept in general scares me, it sends a shiver down my spine, to tell someone I love them is no more painful than trying to look someone in the eye whilst maintaining a conversation. Challenges and situations I have heard of in relationships are very scary, something I don’t think I could ever cope with, the fact that two people with mutual interests don’t get along, it goes against my beliefs, despite the contrary being true even in my own experiences.

I am not some cold inhuman robot who is about as charismatic as a cactus, I am eccentric, geekish, loyal, and very rational. There is just this invisible barrier, like a social exoskeleton, all scaled on the outside, but rather warm and soft on the inside. How is anyone meant to know if this sort of person is suitable for them if they cannot even see it?

I remember several times I have talked to girls, usually at a pub, they have approach me, for some reason I get bored with what they have to say, then afterwards when excuses have been made, I could spent a while just looking at them, this may seem very odd, but all I try to do is consciously work out their face, because I struggled so much to do it all at the same time when I had my opportunity. If I did this before the conversation ‘the eyeing up routine’ she would have probably slapped me or called the police!

Ive never approached a lady, call it shyness if you wish but if I dont have a clue what to say, dont have a clue as to who is interested and who isnt, and end up being overwhelmed by this scanning procedure, who can blame me for not trying? I could always go to everyone I see, either ask a corny catchphrase such as 'hi, where have you been all my life?' attempt to chat about the weather (which makes me feel dirty and just feels forced), or go straight in there and dictate facts about the general theory of relativity. None of those scenarios would logically work.

I know the feelings of attraction and longing, but it is always too late before I am really aware of them. I have passed the lust/shutdown/meltdown stage and life has moved on before I am aware of them.

With all these difficulties is it worth the extra mental effort to find out what love is? I guess family love can be shown in many different ways such as doing practical things for each other, but when it comes to attracting a mate, I am clueless. And if I ever did start a relationship, that demanding 24/7 being there for each other at the drop of a hat would destroy me. One may argue that I shouldn’t make such an assumption before it actually happens, but is that a risk worth taking? I would love to try it in moderation, but is that what the other person would want? How am I meant to tell if they would never say anything?

My whole mentality is based on rational thought, when emotions crop up this crumbles, with music being the one exception where emotion and my brain seem to have an understanding. People say that you don’t need a rational reason for everything in life, especially where relationships are involved but, at the very least, I would really like to hear a truly persuasive irrational reason!

My whole reasoning behind this 'in moderation' claim is the fact I have a young niece and a nephew, I go to see them a couple of times a week, which I really do enjoy, they are honest, simple and are really funny, no real conversation is needed, just have to throw soft toys at them! but I can only endure it for so long, or else I just shut down, same with conversations I have with people, then with hindsight I can reflect on what a good time I did have, but I cant make that judgement at the time. Can you imagine the emotional burden of a close partner or even having kids of my own, which would require nearly all of my attention, not to mention the net impact to myself and also to them having to deal with the 'hot and cold' levels of devotion. I can see the joy people get from children but without appearing selfish, the burden would be too much for me to handle, and I am guessing it would be the same with a close relationship, I supposed I value my mental freedom and also my internal routine too much.

In a survival situation I would be an asset to a potential mate, I have a fear for potential danger/predators, very alert physically (and mentally sometimes!), yet in this day and age we are meant to be all cosy and discuss feelings....

This may sound all gloom and doom but, I can hardly say I am severly depressed at the moment, never say never. What troubles me the most is that there could be noone else like me if the opportunity doesnt arise, but then if AS is genetic who would want their child to have such a condition, but then with the correct support from a young age, why should it be a curse when it could be a blessing? Pure speculation in this article, but realistic.

Friday, 12 December 2008


Something amazes me about society, how this invisible rulebook has to be followed in order to appear normal, get treated equally and avoid being shunned by the masses. We are always verbally encouraged to 'be ourselves' when infact the exact opposite is true. Whenever I be myself, I get called names, people snigger behind my back or even worse just go quiet when I enter the room. I always end up my own worst enemy, sabotaging my success with this self-loathing, being sensitive to criticism. I have the same right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as everyone else. I don't always seem to know what to do and say and what not to do in say in public, whether it's at work or school

The phrase 'cheer up it may never happen' may seem harmless enough, but if I want to sit down, stare into space with a blank face then that’s my choice. My mind is still happy, thoughts racing around about the cosmos and music, I don’t have time to form a happy face in order to conform! If I was to force a happy face my mind would go blank, just as it would if I was trying to work out someone else's facial expression.

There's a tangible peer pressure, a kind of nationalistic bullying to toe the line. In other words - get that new car on credit, get your large widescreen TV, dress correctly (that is, suitably edgy and with the right labels), have a suitable number of nights out with friends and then, and only then, are you a suitable mate, and the real life can hell with that.

Either that, or i'm just sick and tired of shallow British girls...I don't have it in me to plough most of my disposible income into 'looking the part'...a trait that sees you left behind in the UK of today, and get accused of being homosexual.

A colleague has reminded me time and time again that a man of my age should be going to night clubs, pulling birds and getting wasted. I get asked if I have a girlfriend yet, I have been asked when I’m going to finally get a driving license. Who the hell said there is a time schedule, let alone if it has to be done in the first place. Procrastination is one thing, shyness is another, but not wanting to conform is totally different. Sexual desires aside, if I actually knew how to socialise with women, do all the eye to eye gaze and small talk rituals, if I didn’t get overloaded by constant background noise, and if I didn’t feel as though my personal space is constantly invaded, and if I lacked morals, then sure id go out on the pull in nightclubs. A man cannot drive a car with his eyes closed, unless he is told exactly when to steer, apply the throttle, brake and indicate at every given moment that it is required. Even if he learnt when and where to do all these functions for a given journey, what if a deer ran out onto the road, what if he needed to use a different road one day?

I can talk about my interests like a never ending machine, got ridiculed for it many times. So what else is there for me to discuss with people? The weather? What I had for dinner the previous night? What benefit would that actually give my brain? Small talk is known as the oil that lubricates the wheels of social interaction. I am baffled, how can talking about your dinner enhance your social status? Surely the majority of mankind can see past the shallows? Why are people afraid of the deep end? I am an all or nothing kind of guy, my conversations tend to be non existent, or an in depth discussion about a worthwhile topic. It depresses me as to why people are afraid of this. Surely this is substance over style? But maybe that is exactly the point; do people prefer the easy option? It might be more difficult to break the threshold with people who are wired to be weird, but if only I could advertise the benefits without having to feel overwhelmed, cheap, exhausted and dirty.

My sister once reassured me that odd people are far more interesting, if that is the case then why do weird/eccentric/odd people remain on the outskirts of the social world? Why do they never get a shot? There is a rulebook that most people are given as a birthright. Some people such as me are denied it. This subconscious book has programmed people to be able to pick up body language, and facial expression as though it is a sixth sense. The eyes can be seen as a window to the soul, another mind and soul can be understood, probed, manipulated, loved and hated.

What rulebook was I given then? I look into someone's eyes or look at someone's face and it feels like I am looking at nuclear fusion. I try to understand another point of view and it feels like I am taking mental cyanide. I try to be like others, and I end up feeling exhausted, frustrated and need time to cool down. But then how come all I think about is the cosmos, music, motorbikes and ww1&ww2, mentally picturing scenarios, with a melody and/or rhythm in my head. This book must have a different author; it told me all those years ago to understand logic, systematic processes. It told me to automatically pick up music, have perfect pitch, and be aware of things that really matter. My brain has its own priorities. Are they superior? I am not one to answer.

At the end of the day does being a geek with intense interests who is prepared to live life his unique own way deserve the punishment it brings? There is no blame to be put on individuals, just frustration towards this invisible impenetrable wall that doesn’t allow the required two way mental passage. I would never throw away the book I have given, but I would love to borrow the other one for a day, just to see what it is all about.

Monday, 1 December 2008


On first viewing my special interests would appear broad. They wax and wane in magnitude, but never truly disappear even if the empowering desire for a particular subject dissipates. They dictate introspection and anticipation, fuelling a dream-like state of being compared to daily living. I have several augmenting long term interests that I alternate between at the moment, but never more than 1 or 2 at any given time. I will jump from interest to interest within a circle of interests which can last a day or several months, it will last as long as my attention span (which can be incredibly erratic) allows it to. The topics in question are as such that I am able to endorse an interest despite getting a bit bored of a specific subject within it.

The ongoing broad topics will always exist, but during a state of captivation, it will be an interest within an interest occupying a single minded fascination, which can incorporate the T34 tank from world war two, the planet mars, saxophones, the Ducati 916, the moon, trenches of world war one, organ music, and afterwards the general theory of relativity. During conversation I can dictate facts from these topics with robotic utterance, only displaying the facts which are subconsciously engrossing to me, possibly missing out imperative information with my focus being on specific moments in history, objects or statistics/literature.

I can research and expose myself heavily to the point of mental fatigue, then move to the next project, one at a time. The trigger can be a television documentary, conversation, picture, sound, dream or related experience. I can either follow an obsession to the end or snap out of it and move straight onto the next one, depending on the previously stated provocation.

Currently music, astronomy and motorcycles are my main interests with an immeasurable desire to obtain information and knowledge like an intellectual urge, providing me with a mental rush, allowing me to filter out the random chaos created by people and society. My brain has requirements for different types of knowledge which can be broken down into sensory, factual and experience. Some interests cover several avenues of knowledge in this respect, others may only cover one.

They can also be divided into primary and secondary interests. Primary interests presently dominate my psyche, secondary interests used to be primary but are their intensity is limited unless exposed directly to a trigger, for example viewing a large oak tree and in turn causing a temporary but primary condition.

On the contrary to stereotype, I am not a complete expert at any one of my interests, more like a jack of several trades, good at many, master at none. But still, I am far more knowledgeable than the average Joe about the topics in question, and I know deep down if I had the attention span to concentrate on one or two, discarding the others; I probably would become a master. I am impulsive in my intellectual feeding frenzies, when my brain is in awe as a consequence of being exposed to a trigger, everything else is insignificant. As mentioned before the different interests satisfy different areas of knowledge and below is a summary of my special interests as far back as memory allows. A percentage score has been included to reflect how much each type of input is satisfied. I have an inflated drive for factual consumption, certain types of sensory input and a personal paradigm of experience appropriate for my needs.

Sierra cosworths Sensory 15%, Factual 60% Experience 25%

This started when I was around 7-8 years old. My father had a Ford Sierra saloon, and he once took me to a rally meeting. I believe the first car I saw there was a shell oil sponsored sierra, and it was that first visual experience which was the trigger.

I bought two toy models with pocket money and I would bring them into school and play with them in the playground mostly on my own, but sometimes I would play this game in the schoolyard called ‘the parking game’ it became a routine every lunchtime and then a couple of other kids asked to join in. We used to roll them down a gentle gradient and the ones that got the closest to a fixed point won. I would experiment by adding weight for extra momentum, and putting blue tack on the rear axel to slow it down. I would pressure my mum to go to retail outlets to see if they had new toy sierra cosworths, most of the time they didn’t.

I used to have knowledge about the engine capacity, top speed; amongst other useless facts and figures about them I still have those two cars, in a sorry state regarding the paintwork but a sacred part of my innocent youth. It was the shape; combined with that initial exposure to that rally car, combined with the fact my dad had a saloon version which sustained the obsession. Soon after he discarded it for a new car the obsession disappeared.
Astronomy/cosmology Sensory 20%, Factual 70% Experience 10%

I was around 10 years old when this fascination arose, I fail to remember why it began, but possibly it was when I first saw my grandfather’s old pair of binoculars. I used to read many books by Patrick Moore and my teacher was taken aback when we did a class topic on space. I used to explain to her facts about who designed the V2 rocket, the first man in space, what powered the sun, the distance of the earth from the sun and how far the moon was from the earth. I was knowledgeable about the planets regarding their order, size and number of moons. I also knew what a black hole was. Most of these facts she didn’t even know! The school library only contained two books about space which the whole class had to share, but I had around 10-15 in my collection and brought them all in.

This fascination faded to a secondary interest over the next decade. It has come back with a vengeance recently, with subjects such as atheism, evolution of life, string theory and general theory relativity becoming a huge part of it as well. I’m a big fan of the late astronomer Carl Sagan and his works, which tie in perfectly with this fascination.

I can be engrossed in literature, view documentaries (factual) or just sit there and gaze at the stars (sensory & experience). Always something new to learn.

Nintendo 64 Sensory 0%, Factual 10% Experience 90%

I was the only one in my class who owned this video game console, everyone else had a Sony Playstation, spent most of my spare time at secondary school playing on this, and became rather skilful on many of the games, to other people's annoyance, it became the basis of my life during sixth form, as well as weight training.

Trees Sensory 50%, Factual 20% Experience 30%

This one didn’t last long, I had a dream a few years ago which I remember quite vividly based on the video game Donkey Kong Country. I was living in a tree house based community; we never touched the ground, living exclusively in the treetops. I then started reading about trees, saw a picture of the general Sherman redwood tree in America, the most massive organism in the world, and was amazed. It was only specific species of tree that I became interested in, this was almost entirely based on their appearance. The shape of Redwood, Oak, Ash, horse chestnut and bonsai trees will never leave my mind, the shape of the leaves, the texture of the trunk, the way they grow to receive more light depending on their surroundings. These aspects fascinated me more than the scientific details, hence why sensory and experience both score quite high.

I naively chose to do a Higher National Diploma on countryside management because I believed I would be in contact with more trees. Sadly this course was mostly theoretical causing me to become disinterested, realising I was just obsessed with observing them, admiring their predictable static form, the patterns, the curves and in awe of their age. I still admire old trees, but I am not transfixed like previously. I will still stop for a few minutes to observe an ancient oak and zone in on its details. I do have a huge concern about the destruction of ancient woodland and the rainforest, like a subconscious hardwiring that occurred during this phase. A horse chestnut tree got chopped down last year at a local park, and I was incredibly distressed when I saw the stump.

Weight training/nutrition Sensory 5%, Factual 35% Experience 60%

This was definitely an obsession rather than a fascination; it developed during my response to teasing, to be strong enough to stand up to them physically. As it developed onwards, I become aware that this could be the ultimate source of routine. I could plan the times of my workout, what I exercises I do every day, how many repetitions and how many sets I do for each exercise. I had a notebook with each two hour workout; I timed myself doing each exercise within a set time, having a specific order. If someone was using the equipment I was planning to use next, I would attempt to take it in turns, or just use passive aggressive influence to get them to hurry up, such as standing next to the machine huffing and puffing. When I used to skip classes during college I would go to the gym or my bedroom for a workout.

I did 5 workouts per week which lasted roughly ninety minutes; the endorphin rush afterwards was quite pleasant. I ended up seventeen stone with 15% body fat (I am now twelve stone and ten pounds, with a slight beer gut). My diet became very strict; I planned to consume certain foods at certain times of the day, with an incredibly disciplined balance of nutrition. This sense of routine and personal discipline made me feel safe and healthy which helped me stay mentally stable proving a solution to my other problems, like a personal sanctuary shielding me from the unpredictable outside world whilst releasing my anger. I still do weights but only three 30 minute sessions a week, just to stick to a routine as that is something I need. My diet is still bland and systematic as I eat exactly the same food at exactly the same time every single day, just less excessive, although I will eat my mums cooking on Christmas day.

Motorcycles Sensory 30%, Factual 20% Experience 50%

This started when I was in need of transportation and eventually became obsessed with classic British motorcycles. The following passage describes my riding experience from my perspective:

She stood in the darkened alleyway, with just the ethereal glow of a sodium street lamp casting rippling highlights across her projection. I reached out with trembling hands. She was still warm, inviting… I straddled her, whispered how much I needed her today, and how I was going to ride her. So saying, I couldn't contain my libido any more; fingers shaking, I guided them to my pocket and extracted the precautionary measure; then I arched over her and inserted my ignition key. She resisted, she grumbled but eventually spluttered into life.

When riding I am completely in contact with it all...the process and experience of riding, and the environment of the road, and the beautiful scenery engulfs the senses, and the need for constant awareness fills the mind, blocking out all the stresses and strains of modern life, a passing glimpse of nature by direct experience that no routine car journey can ever provide.

With the throttle screwed on there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes... then the music starts, fear becomes exhilaration, the only sounds are the wind and the roar floating back from the exhausts, filling every possible sensory part of my body. Riding is tiring, exhilarating, adventurous, and sensual, accidents happen, and it has its ups and downs. Am I substituting a human being for a motorcycle?

There are some motorcycles I cannot stand, (overweight Harley Davidson’s and screaming inline four bikes, the most popular genres just don’t appeal to me, just like the majority of people don’t appeal to me, only a select few I choose to admire, they have to display the correct character, charm, shape, sound and soul.

World wars 1 & 2 Sensory 25%, Factual 70% Experience 5%

I think it was the TV comedy black adder goes forth that was based in the trenches of WW1 that started my fascination, and then from then on world war two. I tend not to be too fascinated in the general history, although I am aware of a lot of the facts. Regarding the First World War I am just fascinated by the method of trench warfare, particularly the battle of the Somme and do a lot of research into the concept when my brain decides it is ‘in the zone’. Regarding world war two I am fascinated by certain battles and machines (particularly the T34 & tiger tanks, the spitfire and the mustang for their shape, sound and importance, I have seen them in action and the sound, sight, shape and smell all have an effect). I often ponder on what it would be like to be on the battlefield during that specific time period, visualising and acting out battles in my head using those machines in question, not that I would want to be there for real of course. This is now a secondary interest.

Psychology Sensory 5%, Factual 40% Experience 55%

After bad experiences involving associates just over a year ago, I was beginning to question why I behave so differently to peers and unable to ‘fit in’. I conducted research into learning, anxiety and behavioral problems and came across Asperger’s Syndrome. I researched, and considered other psychological conditions such as the various personality disorders, but the original theory stood its ground. When I was at a low point after yet another misunderstanding a few months ago, I realised I needed to know for definite.

Ever since I have been reading forums, books and other online articles, allowing me to relate to their content almost perfectly, it has allowed me to perform a self diagnosis literally because it makes so much sense. The experience percentage is high simply because I am certain I have a condition and experience it in real-time. In the future I want to interact with other people sharing this condition, to learn further and appreciate the fact I am not alone. These factors alone have provided that drive which in turn has imprinted on my brain. After my necessary research this has now become a secondary interest, but I have been left aware of many aspects of psychology and will passively seek to further my knowledge where possible.

Music Sensory 65%, Factual 5% Experience 30%

This my main interest sharing top spot with astronomy for several different reasons, as mentioned in another article titled ‘what makes my brain tick’

I took up the Cello was I was 7 years old as a curiosity. As time passed and with my parent's support I completed several exams in musical theory and practice. When I was 15 and after years of ridicule from some of the popular kids at secondary school I decided I wanted to learn percussion instead. At the time I wanted something to hit in order to release frustration, and eventually it totally replaced the Cello, which I eventually gave up. I was asked to join a band after my sister told them how good I was, but after several misunderstandings and miscommunications I was told to leave; I lost confidence in my ability and gave up after a 4 year spurt.

Eventually I just sat around on my bed plucking away at my sister’s spare bass guitar. I realised actually I am rather skilful at this, being the perfect blend between the musicianship of the Cello and the rhythmic dynamics of percussion. In effect it was as though I had been playing this instrument for at least 10 years, with just the technical side to perfect. When my sister left a covers band and I was asked to join, they were amazed at my ability. People ask me how long I have been playing and they accuse me of lying to them. I enjoy playing the bass guitar with the band I am in, but it isn’t as dynamic an instrument on its own, hence why I am about to take up the saxophone, partly because I am transfixed by the sound. I am able to mentally practice musical instruments, visualising which notes/strings I am producing in conjunction to the fret board, figuring out a whole song just in my head. I have a perfect sense of rhythm and perfect pitch as well, being able to whistle any note I am asked (being unable to sing).

In terms of musical consumption, my perception is rather different to most people. I can listen to a piece of music on a loop over an extended time period, but boredom will never arise because every time I listen it is different experience. Blues, jazz, prog rock, metal, new age and classical can all massage my psyche in ways which many people couldn’t comprehend. I constantly have music in my head; there is never a point in my conscious being where music fails to be there. I have also been collecting vinyls after the past few years (I got bored of collecting postcards and needed a new challenge).

People call me ignorant and arrogant when I claim to be a musical nut despite not being aware of half the bands they have. Try living in my world where even half of those bands are not required when a song can be improvised or created just using your own mind, or experience totally different form of sensory and emotional stimulation after each listen. I can cry, I can have a mental orgasm, and experience huge tingling rush down my spine, limbs and face all at the same time. If I wasn’t a dreadful procrastinator there is every chance I could have made career out of it.

To conclude this interest, my obsession with genres can alternate as well, I used to be transfixed with thrash metal, the aggression really coincided with frustration towards many people, I collected relevant vinyl’s, putting them in order of date released, although now they are in order of album title. I am definitely mellower now; music constantly defines my sense of being and my state of mind and long may it continue.

People people people

I’m a moaning sod today so I will just come out with it, people ANNOY me.

Listed below are characteristics of alot people that I have to deal with every day, some characteristics are unintentional and they probably don’t mean it but it still wears me out. I’m totally generalising here based on my own experiences, but still here goes:

- People who ignore you - They don’t return messages for days, don’t have the guts to tell you the truth, don’t realise there are people who do give a damn about them, priorities appear to lie elsewhere.

- People who stick their nose in - I have nothing to say here, it just bothers me like hell.

- People who like winding others up - I see this as a lack of dignity on their part, trying to transfer it to the next victim. Shallow at best.

- People who live for nothing but small talk and consumerism - All they seem to thrive on in life is reality TV shows, soap opera's, their domestic life, what they are eating for dinner, rave about their new microwave, throw perfectly good items and food away, appear to obsess about what other people eat for dinner and watch on TV. Don’t people want to use their brain for once?

- People who enforce the social laws - These are the sort that assume a man is gay because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, give someone a dirty look if they dont wear the social uniform. 'Gee this guy has long hair, wears glasses and has a goatee beard, better stay away from him then.' Those who ask why I never go to night clubs, people who tell you to get a life when you talk about your interests.

- People who think they are funny - Go on about things that happen in their life, and expect other people to think it is amusing. Expect you to follow their sense of humour. On the flip side few people understand my humour but I accept that I am an acquired taste, more substance than style.

- Bullies - Speaks for itself, bullying is one of the most disgusting forms of mental torture one can endure. It can take many shapes or forms but the consequences are always dire.

- People who don’t use their brain - If it wasn’t for people who use their brain we would still be sitting in a cave chatting about the weather. People eat their food, watch their TV, totally ignorant to how it ended up on their plate or in their living room all they talk about is how it doesn’t taste as good as it did yesterday or how they get upset when a Soap opera character dies. Humanity may be seen as intelligent, but only a small percentage. This is more of an attack on society as it stands today rather than individuals themselves. But people don’t do themselves any favours. Humanity isn’t doing itself any favours at this rate. 9 Billion People on this planet in a few decades? Heaven forbid.

- People who talk loudly, and shout alot - Why does one need to raise their voice over everyone else? It just makes them appear arrogant, aggressive and possibly not very nice. But it is us quiet guys with more integrity who end up alone. Why does conflict always end up in a raised temper? I for one hate being shouted at, more than just an ego thing, it rips through my senses like a dagger in my heart.

- People who appear to mean well - May say cheer up, oh bless you when I talk about my concerns about the rainforest, then they ask me if I have watched I’m a celebrity in the jungle get me out of here. Frustrating as hell. They appear to understand a point you make to them which took a great effort from yourself, but then go on about their makeup and hairdo a minute later.

- Hypocrites/liars - Tell you something or agree with something, and do or say another. Be your buddy to your face, spread lies and rumours behind your back. If you don’t want to do what I suggested just tell me otherwise I will get the hump!

- Criminals - Speaks for itself.

- Religious people - To be more specific people who don’t have any intellectual integrity. Science is avoided because it takes effort to understand. Fear of the unknown, fear of the awe and beauty of the mysterious cosmos. To believe a book written when the believed the earth was flat is insane. Nothing wrong with faith in certain respects but let’s have a bit of perspective here! Having said that I don’t have anything against alot of the older generation like my grandpa who are set in their ways because that is all they have ever known.

These are generalised views, and of course I could be alot more specific and please don’t think badly of me if you have any of these traits, I’m pretty sure nearly everyone has at least one of them (probably even me) and I’m not exactly about to go out on a social purging spree! Because my brain works the way it does, this blog just gives an introduction as to what I have to face and process every day. I just don’t understand why people behave and think in certain ways; whether that is a good or a bad thing I will never know. My mind is incredibly one tracked everything that happens in my life has to be planned, and when people, unpredictable that they are, get in the way of that I get distressed and feel hopeless/empty/frustrated.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Aspergers Sydnrome

Listed below are traits relating to asperger’s syndrome, supplemented with a personal description as far as my memory will allow. My long term memory is commendable, allowing me to remember as far back as junior school. I have spent a substantial amount of time concluding how and why I believe Asperger’s Syndrome has affected me. It is an arduous process trying to compare it to anything else, as this is the way I am and unable to grasp any other way, despite trying. I have included a few selected examples, but please be aware these are only a fraction of the number.

It is as though sections of my neocortex are attempting in vain to compensate for missing or crossed wires, adopting a task which goes beyond their parameters, i.e. processing emotions. The result can be mental fatigue, and possibly portraying a hebetudinous posture, when infact my brain is just working harder than it should, affecting mood, short term memory and ability to multi task. The relief when I am not emotional or in contact with emotional people can be compared to taking mental amphetamines.

Being unable to understand other people's thoughts, motives and behaviours, and being accused of selfishness for failing to consider other people's feelings, is frustrating, as I am not aware of my unbecoming approach. Similarly I become impatient when others lack predictability.

I have had epilepsy ever since I was a few months old, although under control now. The seizures were quite severe when I was a toddler and doctors informed my mother the chances of developing a learning disability were high, which I guess is partially true emotionally and socially speaking, although at the moment I refrain from the possibility of this being the cause, as this cannot be proved.

• Are often bullied in school – Victim of name calling, and was taken advantage of recently. Seems mildly trivial compared to what others are exposed to, but I believe asperger’s syndrome increased my vulnerability, taking their comments too literally. I have memories of other children sniggering, querying what I was doing in the top classes when I appeared such a 'thicko', possibly due to poor executive function, hence being unable keep up with the rest of the class, possibly as a result of teaching style, despite comprehending everything. Many teachers were perplexed when receiving my high SAT exam results, especially when I was in the top 3 for the whole year in science and mathematics when I was 14. The same goes for GCSE mock exam results, which failed to coincide with under performance during the year.

• Have trouble making friends – Able to approach people when special interests are involved, with a slight sense of haughtiness, believing people who share them must think exactly the same way about anything. Otherwise I am hampered by limited social knowledge/initiative to interact any further, causing me to reluctantly resist the rudimentary steps, however undesirable that approach is. I never had a large circle of friends/associates at school (2-3 during a given time period, emotional interaction was scarce, and felt incredibly uncomfortable if the dialect was beyond a one to one exchange). Non-verbal interaction never arose as it mainly involved interests in cars, computers, and playing chess. Friendships/associations usually emerged through my mother introducing us as a result of her own social life involving their parents. I don’t believe it was the person inside drawing me in, more the hope that they might be knowledgeable about a particular area of interest. My brain prioritises lust for information over social intuition. I am either too distant or too intense, and altruism does not come naturally, even if I desire deep down to be more gregarious.

• A very quiet voice – People more than often request that I raise my voice, or ask me to repeat my recent peroration, despite hearing myself perfectly, causing frustration as my sensitive hearing means the internal volume is constantly inflated, which relates to my annoyance towards innumerable random noises. When I hear recordings of myself from childhood or adolescence, my intonation appears significantly different to others in terms of prosody and volume.

• May be sensitive to touch or random noises – Could never and still cannot tolerate loud chewing or breathing, random background noise for example several conversations or thumping music in background, I can be driven to distraction. My tolerance threshold within loud public places is low unless I am there to view a band with only a single sound source. I have a high detection of stimuli (especially aural) to steal my attention which is why I have found it difficult to concentrate in classes at school and at work and being unable to sleep or focus on tasks unless I wear ear plugs.

• May be clumsy – Was substandard during physical education at school, being the last to be picked for team games. I am always correctly being accused of clumsiness, with a reoccurring habit of knocking over cups of coffee at work. Have to be told that I have made a mess otherwise I am oblivious to it.

• Can take things too literally - During English class when I was about 12 or 13, the class was given the task of producing an essay regarding the differences between tabloid and broadsheet newspapers. For the majority of my essay I wrote address details regarding my paper round, the difficulty of pushing broad sheet news papers through a letter box, not to mention the broadsheet impact on trees for using excessive paper. This is the earliest I can remember, amongst others. A recent example was taking ambiguous text on an insurance document too literally, which resulted in a magistrate’s court appearance for driving without insurance despite having a comprehensive policy. This is on top of banter which I really struggle with.

• May have trouble understanding other people's emotions – Due to Alexithymia-esque characteristics I cannot forebode emotions, especially in an unfamiliar or unpredictable situation which requires at least basic intuition. I can understand intellectually if in black and white and given adequate time to work it out by comparing to situations I may have been in. Individual's moods/prosody can affect me maladroitly, which was an issue at school, and is a huge issue at home and at work. Failed to pick up cues in the past from women, presupposing the notion that they were acting weird, as I was oblivious to their hints. Limited adroitness when striving to understand my own emotions, requiring excessive cognitive effort to apprehend what emotion I am experiencing or have experienced in the past. This has often resulted in meltdown or shutdown when the emotion is not profound. My childhood/teenage years were spent initially oblivious to them and eventually internalising them.

I fail to believe that I have really made a true 'emotional' connection with anyone, or at the very least barely realising it. Regarding family, the concept 'emotional connection' hasn’t really emerged until recently; rather I believed that we do practical things for each other to show we care. It is obvious a smile could portray happiness, but I have recently learnt that there is a variation of smiles, resulting in a failed attempt to determine them. When I observe a face, a checklist procedure has to be carried out: are they happy? No. Are they sad? No. Are they bored? No. Are they angry, No. Going through the list can be more stressful than any benefit it would provide, especially when nothing is achieved. Having said that it is alot easier doing this whilst watching people on television due to the generous amount of time allowed for study and lack of distraction.

• Poor at multi tasking - I cannot easily comprehend anything else whilst performing a current task either at work or at home. For example being rude to someone who is attempting to communicate with me whilst I am watching a documentary, one example among many. When doing a task at work I get frustrated when asked to put it aside to do something else, which I internalise. I cannot join a conversation or help anyone if my mind is fixed on something else. I believe my executive functioning skills are mediocre.

• Do not like changes in school, work, and home life routines – I must turn up for work exactly at 9am and leave exactly at 5pm, to the second, and experience difficulties working in other offices when occasionally when requested by my boss, otherwise I feel very anxious. I consume exactly the same food daily, at virtually identical times. I can become agitated if disturbed when my mind is fixed on a task, ranging from watching a documentary, executing a task at work or absorbing information from a book. My mind has to know in advance what it will be exposed to regarding any potential situation, otherwise anxiety prevails. The words maybe and possibly are personal irritations.

• Have a strong interest – Interests dominate my thoughts, feelings, desirable conversations and behaviour. Anything else I am obliged to think about is a burden, the intensity of this increase in times of anxiety. See the ‘special interests’ article for further details.

• Have difficulty reading the sounds of people’s voices – Interlocution is bothersome and awkward with prolonged silences. My boss has told me about my phone manner. I find conversations with strangers and even people I know rather awkward and people with unpredictable or extreme tone of voice are difficult to converse with or reason with, as overwhelming confusion can influence my logical thought.

• Get confused if a person's body language and words don't say the same thing – Multiple and conflicting signs counteract my one tracked mind, providing my brain with excessive stimulus to process, mind blindness the net result. Conversations with less familiar people will dry up apparently due to a 'need' for an exchange of non verbal cues. Eye contact isn’t essential with familiar people because they are used to my mannerisms. Eye contact feels exactly like staring into the sun regardless of who it is, it can be my mother, dad, sister, boss, anyone. Even more so when I am preoccupied and cannot make a conscious effort towards studying a face.

• Feel lonely and unwanted – Not because I am alone but more the fact that believe I am ineffective in the art of giving and receiving expression and points of view from other people, like firing social blanks. Misunderstandings with family members and the few friends/associates I do have are frequent, even more so with the involvement of voice tone and facial expression. During secondary school 6th form and college I was usually left in the form room alone during lunchtimes, or alternatively I hid in the toilets. Everyone else had each other for company. I didn’t know how to explain my inner turmoil to my parents. It arrived during secondary school when the social world properly arrived, and things may have appeared quite normal to them. Their only knowledge regarding the extent of this was in May 2008, although it started roughly 15 years before that. I could attempt to copy what other kids did but was never fulfilled. I required solitude in order to recharge, and is probably why I spent many lunch times alone. I seemed to have more enemies than friends, for no apparent reason, a concept which appeared true until this point.

• Like doing or saying the same thing over and over again – Immense difficulty when obliged to converse, with reliance upon pre rehearsed phrases, facts and figures. The same film, piece of music, and factual conversation can be ritualised, over and over again, which has been commented on. The consequence is frustration when I am unable to understand why they see it as weird, I love to talk about my interests. A ritualistic game called the parking game used to be performed to excess at junior school. Weight training was carried out to excess with its incredibly repetitive philosophy being the main appeal.

• Not know that another person is upset or annoyed, until the other person shows it clearly – Limited emotional understanding requires black and white facts. Incompetence can overrule my understanding of, picking up on or acting upon other people's emotions unless they are verbally explained to me. A physical display would require an extreme and prolonged procedure for me to fully pick up on it because subtleties are frustrating.

• Not know if a person is joking or not. They have difficulty understanding if someone is using irony, sarcasm, or slang, or if they really mean it – A joke can be understood if clearly stated beforehand that a joke is about to occur, for example on a television show like the Simpson’s. Sarcasm provides an equivocal state of mind because I cannot tell if they are being sarcastic or if they are telling the truth despite understanding both sides, but I cannot make a decision. I can perform sarcasm myself, simply because I am the one carrying it out.

• Not understand the interests of other people or why other people do the things that they do - My mind is one tracked, believing everyone thinks like I do, hence making false assumptions at school, only recently I was told otherwise. That mindset promptly dissolved, as I can snap out of undesirable habits using brute force conscious thought once I am enlightened. I struggle to understand alternative opinions hence people implying that I am selfish and self centred, increasing my frustration as I take those comments personally, not understanding why. Conversations with strangers or people I don’t too well feel forced, unable to adequately read a face, process thoughts/emotions and implement my own facial expression within a corresponding time interval. Any of these must happen separately, so speaking involves looking away, causing an awkward scenario with people I attempt to interact with or vice versa. Even more so when I became more aware of the wider world. Arguments can arise with people who conflict my point of view which I believe is perfectly rational and logical, but they fail to realise. The same could possibly be said from an opposite angle when I attempt to understand people and I don’t 'get them'.

• Have or had nervous tics in the past – Used to twitch my head during junior school, moving onto screwing my face up which I still often do. I currently tap my fingers like playing the drums, tap my teeth together and subconsciously shake my leg or foot. I chew my finger nails and the inside of my mouth to the point of drawing blood, a habit since junior school. I tend to notice merely when it is pointed out, and only recently because my consciousness has been raised towards it. I can physically channel anxiety leading to a release, which provides a soothing ambience.

• Have ability to see and remember the details of things that other people miss – At work I constantly spell out to engineers certain methods of improvement, I remember facts and conversations from the past that people fail to remember. At Junior's school I correctly told other children, alas without malicious intent, they were failing to do their mathematics correctly which I got disciplined for. I still remember pin numbers given to me by associates several years ago. Thinking in pictures and applying the words accordingly supplements my long term memory giving the impression of daydreaming. I have detailed obsessions within my special interests i.e. the Russian T34 tank of WW2. My mind plays back images like a video recorder. I can produce a mental illustration of tank battles, rocket launches, playing the Cello note for note when I hear classical music.

• Be very good at remembering rules, laws, systems and important facts. This is useful in many types of work – We follow a standard procedure at work, if engineers break from this I must tell them otherwise, becoming angry if this is ignored. When I know for definite somebody is telling me something incorrect I have to bluntly make it clear. I can do that even if I am not originally involved in the discussion/scenario.

• Be better at writing than at talking to people, because they are careful to choose words that mean exactly what they want to say – I like taking my time over things that matter especially expressing my inner thoughts. I can perfect what I can say in the future, it gives a partial remedy to my poor short term memory when using given a base point of reference where conversational skills are not needed. I am not an articulate genius, but writing helps to guide visualisation which in itself is the ultimate way to grasp a concept. Despite that I have a habit of rushing through things whilst under pressure or exposed to external stimuli, like at work or school. The energy that goes into the give and take of verbal intercourse distracts me from saying what I intended to.

• Enjoy doing the same thing many times over, which most people find boring – I listen to one piece of music over and over again for extended periods of time, taking a completely different slant from every juncture. I used to continuously watch the same films during 6th form, and read the same space books at junior school in a ritualistic fashion.

• Many people with Asperger’s Syndrome are good at practicing scales on the piano, at adding up long sums, and at searching through books and papers to find information and mistakes – I become transfixed when researching interests and enjoy practicing invariable pieces of music on my bass guitar, especially blues scales. As mentioned previously I can read a book over and over again.

Arguments opposing a diagnosis of asperger’s syndrome, and counter arguments to reinforce my claim using a process called critical thinking (which involves the notion of considering both sides of an argument but the side with the most rational body of evidence reigns supreme).

• It could be just a personality disorder based on experiences at school – My mother has stated multiple situations that hint towards asperger’s-like behaviour for example running away on my first day at school, pointing out capital cities and countries from around the world before I could walk. What explains my lifelong fascinations? Why have I always opposed a lack of routine as far as my memory permits? School and my childhood were abundant with routine, so the issue never became apparent. It was during 6th form when weight training began, satisfying my needs during that particular time. The argument towards the case transpires because more questions crop up during the counter claim, which can be answered by the original claim. Also, a psychologist has explained with confidence after analysis that the chances of me having personality disorder are slim, partly because a rational attempt is being made to draw a valid conclusion, and partly due to her judgement based on experience. When emotions are not involved, rationality is virtue I can capitalise with ease. Avoidant personality disorder was suggested previous to this, although I do attempt to interact with people I know in the only way I know how, despite the awkwardness.

• Cannot recall enough of my childhood to be absolutely sure and why was nothing ever picked up? - Alot of my childhood within the family circle was quite normal, being relatively content. There was abundant routine, we went swimming every Saturday at half five, had certain meals on fixed days of the week at virtually the same time (half five) and obviously the school day did not have an ambiguous time structure. I even played on video games with my cousins, although that initial interaction is not needed with family, because you cannot choose them. Despite that, all I would ever do with my cousins would be to play video games, I was not overly aware of them as 'sentient beings' so to speak; I just wanted to reign supreme at super Mario kart. My awareness of sophisticated social activity remained secluded until sixth form. My substandard level of social recognition remained with me from Junior School in stasis until that point, progressing only a very small amount since due to my consciously driven perception. During that period I realised I was severely falling behind, being accustomed to providing my own entertainment inside school and college where introspection never became an issue. Only afterwards did I question why failing to look at people and ending on bad terms was developing a perpetual trend, even more so when I would fail to understand my error. An incident a couple of years ago arose when the frustration reached a climax, the consequence being a meltdown and a hostile situation.

• Did have a couple of friends at school, have a good friend at the moment - We were geeks and seldom on the popular end of the scale. I initially knew them through my mother's circle of friends, sharing interests being sierra cosworths, video games, science or computers. That world that differed to the mainstream as these interests provided the single reason for any kind of interaction, although to my parents I would have appeared content and normal. With hindsight, the priority was not social interaction but rather information exchange about our related interests and less reciprocal. The vast majority of more recent associates or friends were established through family members. An attempt was made to fit in with a group a couple of years ago, but through no apparent fault on my behalf they took advantage of me and it ended as frustration, a meltdown, impulsive behaviour, and a hostile reaction towards me.

A friendship I currently have originated from junior school, as our parents knew each other very well, hence why we knew each other in the first place, so not awkward small talk required, our conversation almost exclusively comprise of space, music, psychology and motorbikes. Seldom social demands during childhood, my portrayal of people was never appropriate for developmental level, as though I was 'always 8 years old' socially and emotionally until after college. My nature is to assume everyone is congeneric to me and would share my cogitation, especially people with similar interests. Frustration would germinate when I eventually become aware that reality conflicts this philosophy. During secondary school peers were interacting with new friends and forming relationships with the opposite sex and I along with the limited number of individuals I knew from junior school were still acting in our traditional way, where a sophisticated social level was imperceptible. The development of my social/emotional brain became indolent despite the above average ability of my academic brain, according to several teachers. I wasn’t inspired by the general peer group/stereotype; the limited number of kids I collaborated with shared a commensuration in terms of social/emotional development. I could only confer with to them individually (which still applies now) and were all into computers, science and machines. They eventually matured and I was belated.

• Lack of eye contact could be a lack of confidence - I am unable to consistently look at my friend or family members in the eye let alone strangers. When I do look at people in the eye at work, the situation is a formal exchange of information. It can be compared to looking at a bright light rather than just a paranoid fear of looking at somebody and being the target of a stare. I am able to cast my eyes at someone when that is all I have to focus on. The online autism 'eye test' is manageable due to it being an artificial situation lacking conversation so I am unhurried during my study of the eyes. In reality the practicality is reduced severely and may be accused of stalking. I can study eyes comfortably on television with partial success but it is a conscious effort.

• Can do conversations – Small talk can occur for limited periods at work. Fundamentals issues are them not being face to face conversations, The use of pre-rehearsed phrases will reign supreme, for example 'hi how are you, good weekend?'. I become soporific, and dread having the obligation to perform it every time I walk through the door or when someone communicates with me at random. I cannot maintain an eye to eye exchange, instead compensating by looking 'through' them. I feel compelled to join conversations which relate to special interests, attempting to manipulate it towards my interest with a blunt approach of dictating facts or figures. Conversations are usually based on my interests but can only maintain for so long, depending on the victim, before mind blindness and awkward silences emerge. I am exhausted and bored after a small period of seemingly 'informal' conversations. I have always related better to much older people but seldom with people of my own age, with the exception of my friend.

To conclude I can simply state that I have suffered over the years for my lack of natural social skills, not understanding why. Many issues have caused confusion leading to ultimate frustration in the form of self harm. No one had explained that the world is different for me because other people through no fault of their own were negligent towards my perception of the world, and the same can be said in reverse. I don't understand most people and generally it is vice versa, but my ultimate goal is to achieve conscious permutation. Some people call me an "old soul" and marvel at my wisdom and mature knack for knowledge, but the evidence towards me having the emotional and social capacity of someone in their early teens is pronounced.

I am more at ease now I have stopped trying to conform to the masses. I believe I possess an irresistible childlike curiosity of the world and the universe. I am constantly informed that I am in my 'own little world' by average people who just worry about what is on television, although I believe I am more enlightened by the physical world than the majority of the community. That is the trade off, the physical world and the social world, the question being which one does one hold more dear? I assume that the majority of humanity would compromise between the two, and the minority go either way like a spectrum. Enlightenment is one step, followed by an understanding and subsequently wisdom, but I now realise after all this time that they both depend on each other, being equally important when discovering the truth about humanity.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Into the depths

This blog has been written in order to supplement my personal article about paranoia and empathy, it may contain some of the same information and descriptions, but it delves a little deeper, more of an attempt to understand my negative thought process and why it is present, it might bore you to tears, as it is almost an autobiography specifically about times in my life that have shaped my thoughts and beliefs. I think this is a good way to understand and realise things about myself, to become less self absorbed as a result.

I am a deep thinking person, as mentioned on a previous blog, my deepest thoughts occur in picture and musical form, with internal words offering a brief narration and description of these thoughts. To internalise words can result in a fragmented thought process, where this necessary but personally unnatural form of thinking occurs, which can lead to false and negative conclusions.

Beliefs about one’s self and other people can become imprinted, automated and stereotyped. To use words is a habit, a necessary evil; they can be repeated, slightly changed like Chinese whispers, and misinterpreted when they are kept, locked away in the memory banks, picture memories are always crystal clear, but the changing words change those memories subconsciously. This narration that supplements the recreation of painful experiences can be loud and clear. An event is played consciously and relived. This process has taken place so many times it becomes a subconscious habit.

Beliefs as a result of negative experience become hardwired, are difficult to shift, can lead to a self fulfilling prophecy if a new but similar situation occurs. A stubborn, impulsive and habitual act of defence can occur without thought, like a negative unwanted skill learnt through physical and/or mental experience.

I have a very good long term memory; this comes at the expense of my poor working memory, and my tendency to remember defining moments of emotion with ease, the unwanted words become louder, the pictures get clearer.

A few examples of those situations:

School & College

During junior school I had a few friends who were geeky like myself, we shared interests, and we were naïve about the real world we spent most of our time talking about our toy cars and computer games. There was no reason to be angry with the world or people, due to that childlike innocence even my ‘cool’ peers at the time probably showed as well. I was able to copy their behaviour, I could fit in with the fellow ‘geeks’ by repeating quotes id heard off the TV and video games, and I appeared to be quite content to those around me.

It all changed at my first day at secondary school, the first thing one of the others kids said when I first walk into the form room was that I looked like Frankenstein’s monster. Comments such as that kept on coming throughout that school year from many kids at school. I froze and internalised it, creating the belief I am completely ugly, believing everyone in the world thought that about me, not realising at the time that people have different opinions and thought that everyone thought the same thing about everything. I was so mad that I couldn't let out my anger. I was just like hiding it. I just didn't feel like being at school anymore.

Over the next few years I took defensive measures such as hiding in the toilets at lunch time, wearing a hat to cover as much of myself, and being in denial, I didn’t revise for any of my exams due to the continuing self doubt and chain reaction of negative beliefs that I wasn’t even good enough or smart enough to do my exams.

Unknown at the time, but fully aware now due to my discovery of Asperger’s syndrome, my lack of social intuition and inability to learn in the same way as the other kids at school resulted in my withdrawal. Although I was in the top classes, as per default from SAT exam results, the other kids kept asking the teacher why I was in their class when I appear to be so stupid, especially when asked a question by the teacher for example, which reinforced my lack of confidence in my abilities, let alone my physical appearance. I hated myself in more ways than one.

I managed to get good grades at GCSE regardless, but that still didn’t change my hardwired views. During 6th form, my next form of defence was to start weight training, make myself look big and strong, carry on wearing the hat, and wore several layers of t shirts under my jumper even in the summer to make myself look big and strong so nobody would ever dare say anything. This resulted in further social withdrawal due to even sincere people being afraid of me as well. I avoided classes, only turning up to around a third of them, I was told to give up physics because I failed to complete the course work. A lot of the time I stayed at home playing on computer games all day, avoiding even being in the same room as my parents, let alone talking to them.

My weight training became an obsession; it dictated my life at the time I loved the routine of being able to plan my workouts at exact times on exact days, eating the same foods for nutrition at certain times of the day. It was like a comfort zone, a real predictable way of living. And the release of my frustration during the exercise regime worked quite well too.

This carried on at college; I made a silly decision to go on a course for countryside management, purely because I had a special interest in trees at the time. This obsession came and went in months, and I felt depressed having paid for this course and having to see it to the end. I failed to connect with anyone on my course, again withdrawing. With hindsight I still have a HND to my name and should be proud of it, and the fact I passed without even really trying.


In reality I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family, they would never intentionally hurt me emotionally, and have provided me with everything I could ask for. Being a little bit old fashioned they were a little strict on discipline. For a NT child, discipline isn’t a bad thing in the traditional sense. Telling a child to stop being naughty is fine when the child is aware they are doing something wrong.

Seeing the world in a different way, being told off for something scared me, especially at the same time my beliefs were becoming more defined. I became scared of my parents in some ways, through no fault of their own. Sensitivity to abnormal tone of voice, made me become shocked at being told off, I would internalise everything said to me, and I still remember it today. To a neurotypical child with no issues, this would have been beneficial, but I believe it supplemented my negative process of self doubt. If kids tell me im stupid and ugly, and my mum and dad tell me off, then they must think that too. These thoughts stuck in my head like glue.

Asperger’s Syndrome was not well known when I was small, so in no way would I ever criticise my parents for bringing me up the way they did.

After college until May 2008

This was quite a turbulent time; I became more outgoing with my best friend (who I had known since infants school), yet at the same time still having those hard wired beliefs that had developed. I created a dividing line, based on my special interests. Due to the thought processes described in the first few paragraphs, I believed that anyone who shares at least one of my special interests would not see me as ugly and stupid. This was partly because since I was a child I do tend to latch onto people who share an interest (hence friendships I had at junior school), and partly because it gave me hope that there may be people out there who could see me in a positive way.

I could be scared of the general public yet go up to somebody who was in a band I liked, or had a vintage motorbike with ease, asking them questions about it. Looking back at it I realise it was more of an initial contact based on objects using the person as an exchange terminal, rather than actually having the desire to get to know them personally, which didn’t even occur to me at the time.

As the months and years rolled on, it hit home that my other peers had relationships with the opposite sex and even had kids or got married. I never questioned my sexuality, as I am definitely heterosexual (get your tits out etc etc!) But I never have the guts to speak to women, possibly hampered further by the fact I am bad at small talk and non verbal cues, something which women find more natural as far as I know. My friend introduced me to a woman who was 9 years older than me had two kids, we didn’t have anything in common apart being a fan of the type of music I was absolutely obsessed with at the time.

Something seemed to click and I thought I was in love with her, exclusively at the time because I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that there is someone else who likes this type of music. I wrote her a letter telling her that. But then after a couple of weeks I started listening to another type of music, I wasn’t interested in her at all. Was it actually the obsession with that sort of music I was infatuated with?

After completing my CBT, I was outside a pub on my own when a group of bikers around my age asked me to join them, at the time this gave me a mental rush. Was my belief that people who share my interests are totally compatible actually true?

Of course this ended in tears, I was often the butt end of their jokes, often not even realising it. I was accused of not having any backbone, when they were sarcastic, it wasn’t as if I didn’t understand the sarcasm, more that I couldn’t tell if they were being sarcastic or not, I couldn’t make the choice. I couldn’t look them in the eye, when there were women present in the group it was even more difficult, I kept looking away, I was accused of being homosexual, was ridiculed because I had a friend who was homosexual as well, but I just half heartedly laughed it off.

When they turned up out of the blue asking if I wanted to come to a pub, I always declined, because my routine was being broken. When in a group conversation I hardly took part, all those eyes, faces and words bouncing around was too much for me to take in, but I was ok in conversation one to one. I had a nickname which I really resented because I felt degraded stimulating that belief that I was ugly and stupid, forcing me to rein act that first day at secondary school (both of them stayed together, if I ever thought someone believed I was ugly, the stupid part would be there as well and vice versa), and also because nobody had ever called me that before so I was confused as well. I couldn’t work out why we were all into bikes but they still thought I was stupid and ugly. I thought that surely if we are into bikes we should all be the same?!

In an attempt to fit in I told them jokes that people I knew from school thought were funny, they were bemused, I thought again if we are all into bikes and I find these jokes funny, then shouldn’t you? The frustration was building, but the severity still unknown. I was trying hard (maybe too hard) to latch onto them and feel part of them. When put on the spot I would be lost for words, and then they would laugh, further reinforcing the stupid and ugly view. But they seemed to still say hello and how’s it going so I still assumed they were good mates.

Then one day one of them called me a twat, the adrenaline kicked in I had a meltdown my views on people had turned to dust, I couldn’t figure out why, and I throw my pint of Guinness in his face. He went livid and started hitting me; the rest of the group told me if they ever saw me again they would kick my head in. I couldn’t understand why it had ended like this.

Some of the group weren’t present that day, they still gave me a chance, but eventually they turned their back on me as well. Telling to meet me somewhere at a certain time then never turning up. This happened several times without me taking the hint. I was naïve.

Afterwards, I have only had one real friend I have seen regularly. A lot of our conversations were similar to the ones we used to have when we were kids, lots of silly words, quotations from movies and immature comments! This was a nice feeling, made me feel like I was reliving more innocent times. It was ok to appear naïve in that respect. But eventually, this wore me down slightly; I knew I was capable of better, and so was he.

During this time I became aware that I wasn’t the same as most people, did some research and came across Asperger’s syndrome, it created a few more questions, but answered so many more. I was distressed when I mentioned it to my mum she thought I was being silly (reinforcing the stupid and ugly belief), made me more resentful of her at the time. Every time she used to raise her voice, and when my dad used to tell me off or just say home truths, I would have a defensive/offensive reaction. Scared im not being taken seriously enough, a belief that occurs with everyone I come into contact with, if I don’t have any acknowledgement telling me otherwise.

Now I realise, that people don’t know what I know and vice versa, I was oblivious to the fact that people won’t know what I am thinking and what I have experienced unless I tell them. Just coming up with Asperger’s syndrome out of the blue, of course it is going to sound silly with nothing to back it up, especially when the person is used to how I am.

The ‘stupid and ugly’ theme has become part of my subconscious, but I realise this now, it explains why I act and react how I do in such a habitual manner. The condition Asperger’s syndrome explains how I think and feel in its rawest form, mentally and physically. It explains how I see objects, people, how and why I have made assumptions and expectations about people. Thinking with pure logic, using intellectual integrity & humility, and facing up to my shortcomings will make me a better person. Realising I am not stupid, or inferior, just misunderstood and different and something I can admire. I admit I am grumpy, have a terrible short term memory, a complete geek, totally useless and awkward when talking to women, lacking theory of mind, and having hardly any friends. But even these alone don’t make me a bad person, and they certainly shouldn’t make me feel ashamed of myself.

Although realising and facing up to personal issues is a huge step, it is only one step. I have automatic responses to certain emotional and social stimuli, hired wired from beliefs and experiences, when lacking acknowledgement and feeling ignored they kick in again. This can be from not receiving a reply to a text message or someone not hearing me when I am not talking loud enough when I believe I am talking at a normal volume. Anger, frustration and self doubt surface again.

It came to a conclusion in May when after music was coming from next door, which was torturing me inside, I put a letter through their door informing them that they have neighbours. Their music didn’t seem to bother other people but it was driving me crazy. My dad told me off, I walked off, he told me to find another place to live on the phone, and I attempted suicide. Years of internal build up finally drew a conclusion there and then. I made the impulsive decision that I was just too unlikeable and not fit for this world and stabbed myself in the neck.

This gave me a sharp wake up call afterwards, as they say actions speak louder than words, my parents never even realised the extent of my problems,

I do often question the Asperger’s concept about myself, especially when I have good days, and when I can be talkative, often thinking I just have a personality problem. But then that question can be answered by the fact that using pure logic, I am able to realise things and face up to things about me without being in denial or hiding away from them. Painful eye contact might be fuelled partially by confidence issues, but the fact I cannot feel back or emotionally lock on or exchange anything from non verbal cues is the clincher. In my opinion confidence problems and a lack of intuition are two separate things, but when combined they create a powerful force that can become unstoppable unless emotions are worked on and understood.

Asperger’s alone didn’t trigger my beliefs, but I believe it made me more vulnerable and more susceptible in terms of adopting them. Only understanding my point of view, and believing one person’s view was everybody’s. The lack of intuition and taking what people say literally has made me feel left behind by my peers ever since my school days.

I may have narcissistic and borderline traits, and mild social phobia, but this can be understandable considering the circumstances and my general childlike emotions and view on the world. Pure intellectual procedure has allowed me to come to these conclusions, with no external guidance or help. The fact I am able to realise these things myself should in the future if I am successful enhance my qualities, and reduce my shortcomings (even if it may never totally exterminate them). I don’t want to fall into the trap of arrogantly convincing myself of things for short term comfort, as I know this is detrimental for my long term mental health.

I may experience depression and I may feel low again in the future, but having thoughts spelt out to me in pure black and white makes things all the more clear than having to keep them hovering around inside my mind, allowing them to crash into each other, like an out of control nuclear reaction, which may result in a full reactor meltdown or complete shutdown of the reactor core before things get out of control. Breaking things down, and logical analysis act like the rods, soaking up extra particles that may get out of hand, allowing the ones that do get through to become clearer and easier to handle.

Now things are clearer, I can work on creating personal rules to follow in social, personal, employment and family based situations, rather than struggling to make my own paranoid or self centred conclusions every day. I can write down facts about myself that I can refer to, to remind myself of how to act. Instead of concentrating future mental effort to the point of mental overload to try and understand myself, I will be able to channel these thoughts towards my interests and for more practical processes. My brain has been a slave to itself, being used for things that it should never have done.

One can only process so much at a given time, and if these processes are purely concentrated on your own self, the amount it has available for other things in life are severely limited, and possibly making me appear stupid for real, and creating a catch 22 situation.

To be true to one’s self, intellectual integrity, courage & humility are required, to do this strengths and weakness must be enhanced and reduced accordingly. When you are true to yourself, it will be easier to be true to others, and one’s process of thought can become ever more efficient. Being excessively self absorbed is a lack of these incredibly simple but difficult to master skills. I can’t guarantee they will be applied in every situation to come across, if I make the positive effort to apply them whenever I am able to, they will become the new habitual process, allow the real me to thrive.

A personal truth in the present should not be feared if it is a variable, as it doesn’t always have to be the truth of the future. The goal is to define the difference between a variable and an absolute. People are too afraid or maybe dont have the ability yet to look deeply into their actual problems, and this is something I am overcoming.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Metaphors and expression

Bit of an informal blog, I find it easier to describe my feelings using metaphors, a bit like a thought experiment that I can relate to, some are a bit weird, but they make sense to me, so here are a few:

Attempting eye contact is like a heat seeking missile that cannot lock onto its target.

One can only afford so much fuel to burn...

Being social feels like riding a motorbike at 100mph whilst trying to balance a pint of guinness on my head....

If society is an organism, each person is a cell, then money is the cancer.

Comparing my peers to myself is like comparing a cheap easy to eat mc donalds burger to a fillet steak. Yes it will be cheap, easier to chew, and quicker to eat, takes less effort, but what nutrients does it have? Will it fill your tummy so well? Will it taste as good?

Maintaining eye contact feels like looking directly into the sun with a telescope.

Social contact makes me behave like an air cooled engine stuck in a traffic jam.

100% freedom is no different to a virus invading a body. the planet is like an organism. humankind and the freedom to over breed and consume, is like a virus, if we carry on the way we do the earth as it currently is will die.

My brain is like a computer with a huge hard drive, fast processor but a tiny amount of RAM, and the wrong software!

I end up looking at the world through a pair of powerful binoculars rather than a crude, short sighted panoramic device that tries desperately to fix onto an object it cant even properly see.

Does one drink out of a social cup or a social jug?

I am like a 5 year old child and an 80 year old man trapped in a 25 year old man's body.

Lack of acknowledgement, logic and routine feels like a petrol engine trying to run on diesel.

I wonder how much grey matter the universe holds

My mind feels like a house plant that is too big for its pot.

My emotions can be compared to someone playing around with the volume switch and changing channels at random.

To compare a NT to someone with aspegers is like comparing a Sherman tank to a King Tiger!

To compare an aspie to neurotypical is like comparing a pine forest to a jungle, neither is superior, just different.

A coping measure can be compared to

Friends, relationships and people can be comapred to different types of stars:
Red dwarf - A little boring but steady but long lasting and totally reliable,
Brown dwarf - Tries hard to relate but will never quite understand, long term associate maybe
Average star like the sun - can take it or leave it
Blue giant - Intense, fun, but only healthy in short bursts
black hole - Mysterious, annoying, and they will eventually grind you down and ruin your self esteem, a bit like society in general
Red giant - Full of energy, personality very outgoing but it has to end at some point

Every day is like firing the afterburner and then running out of fuel. And we all know a jet engine doesnt work without any fuel, if you are unlucky the engines will cut out in mid flight and the result you fall back to the ground, but then you might be at 29,000 ft or just off the ground. If you are lucky all the fuel will run out before you have even taken off, but in the long run that situation isnt healthy as a plane that could never take off has no function.

Another problem is, the plane is so heavy that it needs that afterburner to take off, the fuel tanks have a limited capcity, but the pilot doesnt know how long it should be on for.....

Its a fine line. Does the plane need to be that loaded up? Can it do its duties with less baggage on board? Do the engines need to be more efficient? Can the plane fly somewhere else a bit nearer? Maybe the fuel was of the wrong type....its an ongoing battle especially when you being the pilot are not able to recieve the data he or she needs. All he or she wants to do is fly the plane to its destination drop off the goods and fly back home with a different set of goods.

Every flight out is to deliver something totally different to a different destination, without being aware of that destination. A journey into the unknown.

I run on unreliable rechargable batteries, which can lose their charge at random intervals. Bad days are when they have to be re charged. If there is too much sensory and emotional input during the recharging process, the mental energy will not be enough to sustain a response.

Impulsive behaviour can be compared to issac newton's third law of motion 'for every action there must be a reaction'

Monday, 17 November 2008

My Paranoia, Interaction And Empathy

Here are a few questions I often ask myself, and eventually torture myself over.

Do I say the wrong thing? Are people just caught up their own problems to care about other people's? Do I scare people off by appearing too intense? Does my painful lack of eye contact freak people out? Am I not taken serious enough? Are people talking about me behind my back? Do I just appear to talk shit? Is the person just busy at the moment? Are they in a hurry? Did they even understand what I tried to tell them? Do they even care? Am I just totally unlovable/unlikable? Is there any other way I can get through? Why cant I just get people? Am I actually inducing the Self-fulfilling prophecy? So many questions so little answers. I only have myself to give them.

Over analysing, although beneficial on many of my pursuits, is definately like a cancer when relating to interactions with other people. I cant help it, as it is the way my brain functions.

Being paranoid and low self esteem all the time is a disease, not desirable but something that cannot be switched off easily. Identifying the thought as a paranoid thought is the first step, (and took huge mental effort) but overcoming those automatic responses is a big hurdle. The cause is complex, and a secondary condition that is running parallel with aspergers syndrome. My inability to read someone's eyes leave me feeling like a scared animal in front of a car's headlights, I feel I am being attacked, judged, and as a result punished, the empty gap that is created by my poor non verbal social skills is filled by paranoid thoughts.

My long term memory is vivid when relating to the negative things that have happened in my life, no matter how trivial it may seem to other people. It has left a long lasting impression due to it being rooted from an essential time of social and emotional development (adolescence). My empathic skills are not exactly something I can boast about either which in turn, enhanced the impact, thought what those kids were saying was what everyone in the world thought about me, anyone who looked at me or talked to me.

If I feel I have been blanked by somebody, whether it is a friend, family member, colleague, or an associate the adrenaline rises, I feel resentful, I feel angry, I self loathe, I feel insignificant. Who or what has the power over my thoughts?

This blanking can be not invited to an event (not that I might go but, just being asked is enough for me), appearing to ignore something I say, not answering a text message for at least a day.

I was betrayed and blanked in recent years by so called friends that resulted in me loosing a lot, including my self dignity due to it ending in hostility. I tried my hardest to fit in, digging myself further and further into a hole, eventually being rejected.

I believe my problems have stemmed from bullying at school the cause of it had nothing to do with having AS, but it alienated me from who I authentically was. Looking back at it, the bullying was probably tame compared to what some children go through, but it still had a long lasting effect. For years those comments made to me by the other children will never leave my subconcious mind. I picked up survival habits by locking myself away from potential danger, or reacting to sudden potential threats with aggression, although I do internalise alot of this aggression and take it out on myself. I used to wear a hat 24/7 and very bulky clothing to conceal myself and to avoid extra sensory input, too scared to reveal the real me. I then took up weight training to make myself look big and powerful, so the bullies would never dare say anything to me again. This withdrew me even further.

It has shaped my personality. Being incapable of reading people through intuition, these responses will always awaken when I feel like a victim (even if I am not actually being made one). It is getting worse, and has spread to situations that are relatively mundane, like someone walking past me down the street or an unpredictable tone of voice by a stranger. Being shouted at by a family member after a misunderstanding fuels this concept with great ease, pushes me into freefall and the consequences on myself are not pretty.

I have an ambivalent view of myself, there are parts I admire, understand and cherish, there are parts I loathe. Aspergers Syndrome is a curse and a blessing mixed into one. I am worried I will end up lonely bitter and cold, due to this invisible barrier between myself and society.

As much as I loathe myself to say this, people who I believe to know, and people who appear to know me can appear cold and distant, and probably not even to fault of their own. I dont want to go down the path of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, but being left alone to ponder on my thoughts, without being able to naturally express myself in the way I desire deep down, I can see it going that way.

I may seem a bit melodramatic and I am not always in this state of mind, but it comes about too often and with greater intensity each time. The only thing I can try and do for now is tell myself I am a good person, deep down I dont want to do anything bad by anybody.

The worst thing about paranoia itself, and also energies associated with touch, noise, scent, light, (a side effect of aspergers), is that the very best friends and family I do care about deep down, I risk driving them away due to the way I am. Paranoia then comes in again with vengeance, making me think that I am going to lose a friend. I then worry non stop that this may be the case, and the worry does not stop until I see them, or speak to them, then my intelligence comes back to life again, it feels like a mental rush, like drinking 10 cups of black coffee.

Needless to say, that 'will call you on weekend' is no good either, as ambiguity and poor theory of mind do not mix! Paranoia leaves me needing to know NOW. There it is again.

I am attempting to challenge these thoughts, and sometimes, depending on the situation can work, but it is so hard wired into my psyche sometimes there is no escape. Using diversions is a good short term trick, but they have to end at some point, and either when im at work or getting ready for bed there is definately no escape.

To anyone reading this, no im not crazy, or schizophrenic, I am fully aware of my problems and partially aware of what caused them. Brute force brainpower helped me with this, my poor control of emotions is primitive and this is always at war with my grey matter, either can win depending on the situation. I just wish people close to me could be in my shoes for a day, because I feel I will never be able to convince them just using words, it is like an endless battle. The more I try to reach out the further away the goal is.

Sometimes I wonder if it worth the effort, I dont want to harden up even further into a total mindset of resentfulment but the more I try, the more resistance that appears before me. Friendships and families can be wonderful at times, but they can also be intensely frustrating and painful. I am struggling to figure out which one reigns supreme. The self-fulfilling prophecy can be potentially poisnous when it comes to ones thoughts, the harder the struggles to prevent it, the more inescapable my destiny seems. Fate, it seems to me, loves irony. Wanting and preventing, what is the difference?

It is a seesaw sort of pattern as there are longer and longer periods when resentment and anger are the predominant feeling punctuated by spurts of great fun, energy and togetherness. Do these glimpses of pleasure outweight the rumenating negativity? I am starting to doubt it. It is difficult to overcome because of the chemicals that are released into my brain and body. A brief sense of acknowledgement and a gesture of understanding is all I require regularly, but that doesnt happen alot of the time, so my self questioning kicks in to plug the gap. I can unintentionally carry out a preemptive strike that is an expectation of attack, betrayal, and the rationalization of a defensive counterattack, again rooted from past experiences, and the desire not to appear stupid.

Of course I for one would not need 24/7 attention as I need my cool-down space too after an overwhelming sensory or emotional experience.

Maybe I am just too bored at work, understimulated during the day. Maybe part of the resentment is because I could have achieved so much more academically in the fields of science and music instead of being dominated by emotions I never really understood at the time and cutting myself from everyone and everything for months. I wish I was a vulcan! Bah humbug I think I will just melt away into my music and forget about the world before I go bed....hmm how much is psycho-analysis I wonder...

The fact I am brutally aware of all this makes it all the more painful as I cant think of a way out. I dont think it is a personality disorder, as there are some times that it doesnt exist (although not too common I must admit), it is more a personality quirk that has got out of control due to being missed at an earlier stage. I could just shut myself off and totally block out all thoughts, but I know this is NOT the path to choose however easy it may seem short term. The solution is understand deeper into the problem, and practice new social skills, and learn more about the human mind so I can grasp other people a bit better. This is a long term objective, but to me it seems the only way.

That feeling that there is no way out resulted me in attempting suicide a few months ago, I am scared it will happen again, and self control will be lost. The paradox of who I am and who I appear to be are in conflict, it is my goal to change this.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

White flowing beard

The question is, what IS god? If god is just finding that essential Elysium in life, and the beauty that surrounds it as einstein described it then I agree with that. I would rather called it something different to a personal god though, as a matter of fact there is another word for it, it is called Pantheism. But if god is an intelligent being that designed and created life on earth with a purpose then I oppose that concept, on behalf of the whole scientific community and everything it has achieved so far.

I agree that you can’t beat wisdom or love for a satisfied mind, although infinity does have its boundaries for a mortal life form's ability to grasp, being analytical I will always want to know more, and the pleasure comes from trying, understanding and being in awe of the mystery.

In terms of sentience, it depends which way round you look at it, we are all sentient beings, as a result of billions of years of evolution and chemical reactions. This vast amount of time is beyond what most people can even begin to comprehend. If god is exactly that, then it does exist. But I don’t understand how all the planets, galaxies can be made by someone's bare hands (so to speak).

I think alot of the time religious theists just can’t deal with the fact we are here by chance, fear of the unknown, a desire for an authority figure that is as hard wired into human psyche as fight or flight, they lack humility and respect for who and what surrounds us and why it does. By chance includes, the formation of the sun due to hydrogen being squeezed together by gravity, resulting in nuclear fusion, a rogue asteroid hitting the earth, resulting in the dinosaurs dying off and warm blooded mammals dominating the earth, (and not because Noah denied them a place on his creaking wooden ship!) If god made this happen, I’m dying to know exactly how he did it! Because the answer of 'well he just did get over it you non believer' is insulting to my intelligence and analytical way of thinking. The phrase 'prove that god doesn’t exist' is just a shallow way to conveniently avoid the burden of truth.

I don’t doubt people have religious experiences, but I reckon these can be described scientifically quite easily. There is a reason behind our conscious and subconscious mind, and I am afraid it is due to those neurons and synapses working together! You feel a channel of love and warmth from god? Maybe the placebo effect, endorphins, oxytocinare, Vasopressin, dopamine and norepinephrine are the culprits? Yes the feeling is wonderful, and can be quite powerful, maybe to an intensity you have never experienced, and boy id love to experience that too, but there is a physical/chemical reason. The power of individual thought in a relaxed state of mind should never be underestimated. I have spiritual experiences myself, but I also understand the cause which itself gives me even more pleasure.

The ONLY creationist theory I could ever take remotely seriously is if aliens started the life that exists on earth, but this doesn’t really extend to the formation of the sun or the universe. From an agnostic point of view this will always be possible, but highly unlikely when considering the scientific alternative, because it would ask more questions than it solves, for example where did the aliens come from in the first place? Did other aliens make the aliens that made us? If so did another group of aliens make the aliens that made the aliens that made us? The questions leave an ongoing chain.

Some people like to ponder the unknown, and some people are either afraid of it or in denial of it and religion conveniently plugs that gap. If that makes them content with their life then fair enough, but I just cannot do that when my mind is racing towards the mysterious and awe inspiring vastness of space.

The concept of god is so ambiguous it can be interpreted in so many ways ranging from ancient scrolls to Einstein’s theory. To me the phrase 'do you believe in god?' means very little on its own.

Gravity defines our very existence on this tiny little planet, and the existence of the universe as we know it, it is that 'invisible force' which binds everything together, looking it from a spiritual perspective, it can be seen as *the* divine power or god. I for one can picture space-time in my head just from reading Einstein’s description. I can imagine myself inside a craft, obeying Newton's laws of motion. When my craft approaches a large dense object I can imagine in pictures how it would influence my trajectory. Maybe an equivalent mental image of god can be produced in a religious mind, after all, god is only a thought, but at least my images created from rationality.

I would rather connect with the environment and the universe using my senses and mind to perceive it, and from the scientific evidence rather than taking for granted something that has been written in an ancient book, by people who had less knowledge of the stars and science back then (when they thought the world was flat, and the sun literally fell into the sea at dusk etc)

I personally believe that if everyone on earth was agnostic, it would be an awe inspiring place to live, but of course I have to accept this will never happen. I would be proud to be a part of the human race if it did. Instead there are wars, out of control over population, extreme variations in living standards and health, instead of more development into energy from nuclear fusion, space travel, and other ways of having a sustainable population for the benefit of our descendants (idealistic I know but it would be possible).

Don’t get me wrong I am all for a free society, each to their own, but surely we should unite and think properly about what is real and what isn’t rather than just turning a blind eye, or even worse show signs of extreme myopia (so to speak) and not even consider the evidence for and against? From a logical point of view, (and I admit idealistic) what if every single human being had this vision? We would be on the way to the stars by now. Science is answering more and more questions as time goes on and as we learn more, the amount of room 'god' is able to fill gets smaller and smaller. Sadly, everyone is different, and (without intentionally sounding arrogant), some more intelligent and complex than others. I don’t mean to say that more simple minded people are inferior in terms of ability to be human, but my point is that I do accept that idealism and practicality seldom mix.

From science we learn as a species, from religion we stay still and go nowhere as a species. The self-reinforcing delusion is an ancient and as a result, quite powerful human trait, which points towards the theory that maybe we are not that advanced as we like to think we are as a species, from that I mean the subconscious and conscious mind are not yet talking to each other in the same recognisable language. It is only certain minded individuals who have the focus and the courage in themselves that make the steps towards the next advancement, whether it is artistic, technical or scientific. We underestimate the power of the subconscious mind; make false assumptions without proof, which to me is disheartening.

Factual wisdom never plays any part in that which people call their own (view/faith/belief), nor examination. The self reinforcing delusion of mankind's religions is not one based in truth or wisdom, but in comfort, or respect that it is their inheritance of their parents, or some other likewise reason. We will never make great strides inside a comfort zone. Why does a chick hatch out of an egg? Why does a baby leave its mother's womb? Global Secularism at the very least is the only way forward if we want to achieve unity. I don’t need religious guidance to have morals and integrity.

Karl Marx stated that religion is utilised by the ruling classes whereby the masses can shortly relieve their suffering via the act of experiencing positive religious emotions. It is in the interest of the ruling classes to install in the masses the religious conviction that their current suffering will lead to eventual happiness. Therefore as long as the public believes in religion, they will not attempt to make any genuine effort to understand and overcome the real source of their suffering.

From a logical viewpoint, that appears to be correct.

If our ruling emotions are the equivalent to those ruling classes (such as fear, anxiety, emptiness, depression) then it has the same effect. No wonder alot of people follow religion as though it has been ingrained into their psyche, as those apparently positive emotions become hardwired, just as any form of defensive mechanism one creates to stay safe in a given negative situation. Because a whole society/civilisation, generation after generation, has sustained this comfort zone, why change if you believe it is ideal? I think the brain is like a lump of plasticine which gets harder to shape as you get older, but can be manipulated in so many ways at a young age.

It is true we all need something to believe in, and we can. Ourselves and each other. Soul searching combined with intellectual rationality would mean the need for religion could cease to exist. That scares alot of people, hence alot of resistance towards science and the lack of self drive in alot of our society.

Each and every one of us are children on this planet, but we use the child-like traits many different ways. Some are overpowered by fear, others like me are overpowered by a wonder and urge to ask questions. But like children who have their parents to look up to and seek guidence from, what authority figure does the helpless child in an adult's body have to look to for guidence? I concentrate on my wonder of the physical world, and that satisfies me no end. In other words, I am a Pantheist.

Here is a view from Einstein, which I admire, (courtesy of wikipedia):

'Einstein distinguished three styles which are usually intermixed in actual religion. The first is motivated by fear and poor understanding of causality, and hence invents supernatural beings. The second is social and moral, motivated by desire for love and support. Einstein noted that both have an anthropomorphic concept of God. The third style, which Einstein deemed most mature, is motivated by a deep sense of awe and mystery. He said, "The individual feels ... the sublimity and marvellous order which reveal themselves in nature ... and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole." Einstein saw science as an antagonist of the first two styles of religion, but as a partner of the third style.'

The awe and mystery itself is a belief, is it any more valid than the first two? Maybe we will never know, and that scares people due to our relatively short life span of 100 years. Less than a blink of an eye on the cosmic calendar.

a few quotes from Carl Sagan which really hit the spot:

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

Adolf Hitler: We Will Fight the Atheistic Movement
We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.
- Adolf Hitler, Speech in Berlin, October 24, 1933

“The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.” - Abraham Lincoln

“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” - John Adams

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” - Benjamin Franklin

“Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.” - Thomas Jefferson

“The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man…” - Thomas Jefferson

A U.S. president who believes in an ancient book of Jewish fairy tales. How reassuring…

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.

At the end of the day, religion is a belief in a supernatural power recognized as the creator. Faith is a belief in the trustworthiness of a person or philosophy. You can have faith in a number of things, but not only to God, I have faith in string theory :-)

This blog was never meant to be an articulate masterpiece, and I do understand I will probably appear as a bemoaning idealist, but I just had to get my thoughts out in the open.