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Myrtonos

Why do others here seem Neurotypical-like at times?

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Dr-David-Banner

Einstein had this basic idea I tried out myself over the years and I found he was totally right. It really works. You have to keep questioning all the time and the more you question, the more you have to "think" to obtain the answers. I notice on lots of science forums hardly anyone frames a solid question. Understanding is just assumed and (very worryingly) those who ask questions may be patronised or, in rarer cases, called "stupid". Some time ago on one forum I had this "rank beginner" rating and pretty low feedback. Very low, I should say. This was brought about as I asked questions and it was just assumed only novices throw out questions. Sometimes the autistic brain learns in reverse so there's no direct order in how information is assimilated. I finally had to stop asking these questions on forums as they got deeper and more into physics but still I haven't stopped making questions. Einstein's next tip was explanation. You understand something truly when you can explain it to child and the child is able to follow. Here Einstein was probably thinking what really matters is "understanding" and not impressive sounding terminology. Outside of science I always admired Einstein for his views in general and here was a man who made the general public see physics as cool. We don't know if Einstein was autistic but his thought processes were highly individualistic. The other fascinating tip I got was from reclusive Jewish/Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman. He shared that his thought processes were deep and SLOW. That caught my attention as society idealises the ability to think quickly. It's the perspective of not thinking quickly that people label as stupid. Here though is a real riddle to ponder. Almost a majority of autistics such as myself were born with dominant linguistic intelligence yet under-developed mathematical and spatial. They call it maths impairement. I still experience dyscalculia even though I do a lot of maths. I found maths will develop if you work at it. 

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Dr-David-Banner

I found one achilles heel on technical engineering forums that led me to drop using them, more or less. I found there were members who would abandon their point of view if this would maintain their reputation. Reputation mattered more than the subject matter. I could never admit to any idea on the basis of whether said view is popular. What matters above all is whether an interpretation is factually correct. If the mathematics works and something can be explained with quotes and examples, it seems crazy to me to step back because someone might get offended. One big advantage with autism is we tend to favour facts and data over emotions and sensitivities. There's a terrific film called Contact where two scientists are juxtaposed. At the top is a guy who ridiculed SETI as a waste of talent and time. Then there is a female scientist who is actively running a radiotelescope SETI program. When she unexpectedly receives a signal from Vega, the other more respected scientist muscles his way in takes credit. He uses his instinctive knowledge to convince government and press he was the brains behind the discovery. Many times I've heard experienced people state it's always third rankers who rise to elite positions in most fields - especially government. 

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Sanctuary
On 7/2/2019 at 9:44 PM, Dr-David-Banner said:

The other fascinating tip I got was from reclusive Jewish/Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman. He shared that his thought processes were deep and SLOW. That caught my attention as society idealises the ability to think quickly. It's the perspective of not thinking quickly that people label as stupid. 

This question of speed of thinking - or ultimately speed of response as that is what others tend to notice - is a very interesting one. As you suggest there is often an assumption that someone who is slow in their response is slow-witted or ponderous. Sometimes this is true but often it reflects a person who realises the need to think fully before responding or making a decision, who realises that matters can be complicated and deserve a considered response. Negative judgements of those who take time to respond can unfortunately lead to rushed and bad decision-making. In fairness I think we are all guilty of these judgements from time to time. We get impatient with someone who responds slowly or assume they lack ability - sometimes we are right but our impatience and negative conclusions can ultimately lead us to be on the wrong end of rushed, ill-considered actions by others.

The psychologist Daniel Kahneman devised the concepts of fast and slow thinking. We all engage in both to varying degrees. Fast thinking is required when we have to make instant or near-instant decisions and clearly it is often necessary and very useful. For example a football referee has to make instant decisions on whether or not a foul occurred. Conversations also rely on responding quickly - imagine the awkwardness of a conversation where one participant takes more than a few seconds to reply. Slow thinking can be used for non-urgent or very difficult decisions. While fast thinking is a necessary skill it can result in bad decisions - sometimes simply through mistakes but the requirement for speed can also lead to unimaginative decisions simply repeating past actions. More worryingly fast thinking often falls back - subconsiously - on preconceptions and stereotypes or being influenced by the mood of the time. Slow thinking should be more considered, less prone to error, lack of imagination and less prejudiced although none of these things are guaranteed. 

Modern life does seem to have a distinct preference for speed and this has brought us many benefits in terms of getting quicker service. However quicker service is not always better service. There are times when we need to slow down and provide more time for things to be done, particularly if we want to avoid stereotypical and unfair decisions. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Today I was as often thinking deep and slow. The comical side of it is I was studying in an old textbook how to deduce the internal resistance of a milliameter. To be frank, this is as complex as it's useless. On a forum people would frown and ask what the point is. You can buy a digital meter made in China that you can just use. Only engineers in the 1940s used analogue moving coil meters, combined with maths application. Yet, I thrive on the challenge. I learned with HFA it is common to find people who will study an old washing machine for hours, memorizing the pulleys, diaphragms and cogs. It's also an old wives tale to assume we are just oddballs who in fact lack "practical and proper knowledge" of the subject. I can admit though my deep thinking is indeed totally useless and unwanted in modern times. And yet, if you take another perspective these weird analytical activities create far deeper understanding of a sphere of interest. Now, Einstein in his way was more realistic than your average HFA geek. Relativity is an important discovery in physics. Perelman also persevered in an area of maths that at least interested other mathematicians. Despite that, there is still the element of deep and slow thought process. I find elite scientists to be similar to autists in such ways except maybe many autists over focus on obscurity to the point they remain dismissed as hugely eccentric or plain OCD. Also though I think any time grinding the brain cells is better than spending hours socialising and just passing the day. I also believe in general people do a lot but think, nowhere near enough. 

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Myrtonos

If someone on the spectrum is like neurotypicals in a way I am not, that can make them seem neurotypical. That thing about copyright issues is one example, why did practically everyone who commented on that thread write in agreement with most neurotypicals?

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Sanctuary
3 hours ago, Myrtonos said:

If someone on the spectrum is like neurotypicals in a way I am not, that can make them seem neurotypical. That thing about copyright issues is one example, why did practically everyone who commented on that thread write in agreement with most neurotypicals?

I understand your perception. All of us at times will come across someone who is autistic and feel that in the context we've encountered them they seem neurotypical. However that is like a snapshot of that person and in other contexts their autism will be very evident and maybe much stronger than ourselves. As I've suggested earlier in the thread, online communication especially can seem to minimise a person's autistic traits as it is a medium in which they tend to feel more comfortable. Face-to-face communication / interaction is where those with autism are much less comfortable. There are of course other aspects or issues in which autism manifests itself which may not emerge on a message board. One of these can be specialised interests. While some with autism will raise these on forums, blogs, etc, many keep them private which means that aspect remains hidden. For example I have very deep interests in some (apparently) esoteric topics but don't discuss them here (or with almost anyone) as I feel they will seem irrelevant or pointless to them. Some autistic individuals do want to discuss their interests on forums like this but others do not.

As regards debates on topics such as copyright there is no "autistic" or "neurotypical" position. Indeed that is true for the vast majority of points for debate. There will be some neurotypicals (albeit probably working in the music business) who will take a position similar to yours; my guess though is - leaving aside the rights and wrongs of the issue itself - the vast majority would favour the more relaxed position and that is probably why you were in a minority position on that issue - not because of autism but because that is the general balance of opinion. It is possible other members agreed with you but didn't want to be drawn into a debate. People can especially feel uncomfortable speaking in favour of a minority position. I sometimes come across topics on Asperclick and elsewhere and disagree with the views expressed but refrain from expressing a contrary view because I don't want to be drawn into a debate, especially one which I feel is unlikely to go anywhere and will not change minds. To your credit you are prepared to express views which are minority ones when many other people will be reluctant to do so. Minority or "unpopular" opinions are not necessarily wrong ones and may sometimes be more accurate; sometimes though they are views that are unconvincing. Whatever their validity it's no bad thing to hear contrary views expressed just to make us think again and sometimes take a different path.

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