Something Different Saturdays

Something Different Saturday: More Human Than Human

You can thank me later for the great flashback to some classic White Zombie but today I want to talk a little bit about humanity. To be more specific I want to talk about those people who want to transcend their humanity and become something that’s better(?) than they currently are today. I’ll discuss some of the reasons that I see for this want of a better existence, why it’s not a healthy mindset to have, and how being human can already be pretty damn great.

Why?

So the first thing that we need to talk about is why someone might want to leave humanity behind.  The truth is that life can be pretty awful at times. We deal with disease, war, death, injury and all sorts of Kardashian bullshit. Life can be pretty damn depressing at times and when you are in this state of mind you might seek a way out and one popular way out is to imagine that this life is not the only one.

Let me list a few things that I was going through when my faith was at its peak.

  1. An Awful Marriage.
  2. A debilitating nerve issue which made walking nearly impossible.
  3. A job that sucked
  4. Lots and lots of stress

And so with this in mind I would consider that this life must simply be preparing me for something better. If I didn’t have something to look forward to then why would I even bother continuing on with this shitty life? If you think my story is unique, think again, time and again I have spoken with other former ministers who had the same set of circumstances going on in their life. Now I’m not saying that you cannot be a happy person and faithful, you can. What I am simply pointing out is for you to truly dwell on wanting to transcend humanity, your life has to be bad enough that you want to leave this world behind.

Going with the first reason I laid out is the feeling of being powerless. Maybe you have no clear ability to change your current life situation and so you believe that if you could simply transcend this world you would be able to exist in a powerful and fully in control state. Perhaps this comes in the form of a blissful heaven that exists somewhere after this life? It could come in the form of transcending humanity and becoming pure conscious thought. Maybe it’s integrating your mind into some form of technology that would allow you to do all the things you have always dreamed of doing but were too scared to try.

Lastly, maybe you just don’t like people…

I don’t personally like people. Being autistic and not knowing it means that I lived for over 30 years of my life without the knowledge of why I was so different from everyone else and thought that if I could just figure out the right things to say and do I could be normal just like everyone else. This led to an intense hatred of humanity. I saw my fellow human beings as idiots who were here to be little more than an annoyance to me as I tried my best just to get through life.  This led me to the desire to escape from this reality and was probably one of the biggest draws that religion had. Once in heaven there would be no pain and so I would no longer feel the pain of being the odd one in the group, I would be normal just like everyone else.

Why is this not healthy?

So let me tell you about something that happened today. I took my family out to dinner at a local establishment. We sat at what looked like a quiet table and ordered our food. Not long after sitting down I realized the massive mistake we had made.

Two women sat beside us having a discussion about a sick friend that had recently passed away. Soon their topic moved on to religion, then psychiatry, then every little fault about every single person they had ever known, making sure to point out exactly why they were better than those people and how it was god that made them these superior beings. You might be saying…why were you listening? I tried not to but one of the women wa so boisterous and mind numbingly annoying that there was no possible way to not hear every single damned word that came out of her mouth, dontchaknow?

lex

Now why do I mention these women? I mention them because of how sad their lives must be. They are incapable of enjoying life and instead spend their time looking down on everyone that they see as sinful or even a little bit different. That is exactly what this mindset breeds and it is no wonder because at its core it is nothing but a cheap form of delusional narcissism. The only thing that these women take joy in is that their god loves them and has set them apart to be superior to their fellow human beings.

Strangely enough they must have missed this scripture…

“Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:

eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.”
-Proverbs 6:16-19

So the reason that this type of mindset is not healthy is because it prevents you from enjoying the life that you already have. When you spend your time attempting to get to the next world or the next state of evolution you will ultimately miss out as this life passes you by. However, you’d never hear a complaint from these people because the more they miss out on and the worse their lives get the more they will extol the virtues of your superior lifestyle. Your delusions must grow in comparison to the life that becomes less and less satisfactory which leads to even more self-ostracizing from the people around you.

Being A Human Is Already Pretty Damn Great

Look at the animal kingdom and tell me of a single species that has developed music, art, poetry, literature, medical science,  automobiles, space travel, the internet, etc…. Only a single species on earth can lay claim to these things and that is us, humanity. We have, at our fingertips, every work of fiction and non-fiction that has ever been written. We can enjoy Mozart and Bach. In the western world, even the poorest of Americans can still enjoy more leisure time than at any other time in history.

To put it simply, being a human is awesome. We are the thinking man, Homo Sapiens. Though our mental powers we have risen above our nature and progressed as a species in ways that no other species on earth ever have. In the history of this planet humanity is nothing more than a blip on the map and yet look at all that we have been able to do in the 100,000 or 200,000 years that our species has existed. Think of how much further our species might go in the next thousand to two thousand years if we put our minds together and put our superstitions in the past where they belong.

Now, it is possible though not probably that there is another life after this one. Maybe you will exist in a better form than you do today and I will be completely wrong, but…if it isn’t and you waste this life attempting to escape from it, you’ll be none-the-wiser but a life will have been wasted and that to me is truly sad.

 

An Aspie In Iowa

An Aspie In Iowa #1: Small Talk, Gossip, and Directions

First off, I want to say that my experience with Autism is going to be different from another person’s experience. It has been said, “If you meet one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism. Due to being a spectrum disorder, people with autism can display many different traits.

I have been diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism, what used to be known as Asperger’s Syndrome. What this means is that most of my autistic traits are unseen, at least for the most part, having more to do with the way I think and perceive the world. So while this is the story of my own experience, I won’t be able to give much information on other forms of Autism, such at low or mid functioning. My nephew is mid-functioning and while we share certain traits, much of our own personal experiences will be different throughout life.

Anyway….

I wanted to start this series out right with something that has caused me a huge amount of stress and exhaustion over the years. Small Talk is something that makes absolutely no sense to me and so I am absolutely awful at it. It has always seemed that small talk is simply a means to eliminate silence and in that it seems really weird. Is silence horrific to neurotypical people?

If you were to engage me in small talk I will spend the majority of the time trying to get out of the conversation. This is for multiple reasons but mainly the following three points:

1.) It annoys me
2.) I see no point in it
3.) I fear saying the wrong thing in these moments.

This might come as a shock but I could not care less about the weather, that new recipe for chicken tacos, or the pro’s and con’s of the various types of butter you can use to make cookies. Part of this comes from the fact that I have no idea where this style of conversation is supposed to go. Usually my response will be something along the lines of, “yep…”

Seriously though, think about it. You’re sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting for your appointment. Someone walks in and sees you sitting there. They sit down and you both are silent. Then after a few minutes they speak up and say, “Boy it’s hot out there isn’t it?”

My response…”Yep…”

Is this conversation supposed to go somewhere? Am I supposed to then tell you that I’m there to have an infected toenail looked at? Should I show you the toenail? Do I ask you if you are there to be checked into psychiatric care due to fearing silence so badly that you engaged me in this conversation?

Chris Pratt

I have found that my initial response almost always leads to them looking at me like I am supposed to continue and ask them something back but who the fuck knows what. The only thing going on in my mind is this…

“Please shut up, please shut up, please shut up….I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t want to talk to you…”

Another horrible experience for me is when checking out at a store. When I go to the store, I get what I need and I try to get out as quickly as possible. Over time I learn which cashiers are the fastest and I attempt to go through their aisles. Sometimes though this option is not available and I am placed in a checkout with someone who wants to make comments about everything I am trying to purchase.

“Oh, is this butter good?” They might ask.

“It’s butter.” I would reply

“I usually use this brand, have you tried it?” They ask.

“No, this is cheaper and it’s the same butter I have bought for the last 10 years.”

“You ought to try this brand.” They reply

“I’m good.” I say

“Ok….OH! Is this brand of bread good?”

By the end of experiences like this my brain is swimming in stress and I am completely exhausted. The reason being is that my mind is pushing me to an outburst. As the stress level rises, the lights around me get brighter, the noises become louder, and the voices around me become less distinct. My skin might begin to itch and I often break out in hives simply from the fact that I am stressed out. I will begin to notice the temperature in the room as it seems to rise and I feel a need to scream build up in my body.

At one point in life I would have just blown up. Emotional outbursts were a regular occurrence for me growing up and even though they might initially make me feel better, I would do or say things that I would regret later. During sensory overload I can say some of the most wicked and awful things without ever realizing that they have exited my mouth. So holding back these urges is absolutely exhausting.

By the time I get home from the store I sit down and often times don’t move for several hours after that. Letting my mind calm and slow down the sensory information that I am receiving. It should come as no surprise then that I attempt to the best of my ability to keep away from small talk.

Gossip on the other hand is both interesting and annoying. When I was younger I would have people tell me things about other people and then moments later I’d watch as those people acted as if they were the best of friends. You would never see me do anything like this. In fact I got in a lot of trouble as a kid for saying things like, “I thought you just said she was a bitch?”

Gossip is interesting because people seem to think that since I am quiet they can just come up to me and tell me anything and no one will ever hear about it. The problem is my perception of people is often times shaped by how other people speak about them. My mind is incredibly literal and so if I am told that someone is  crook, I will think, “oh, this person might try to rob me, and act strangely around that person.

The other thing about gossip is that it is almost never actually true. Many times throughout life I have had person A come up to me and say one thing about person B , then have person B come up and say the exact same thing about person A. Now obviously they both can’t be right but why does this type of accusatory talk feel so good to neurotypical people? It makes no sense to me.

The last thing that I want to talk about today is directions. If you are ever told to get directions from me, or to give directions to me, we are both going to end up confused. The way I plan things out is totally different from the way that others plan things out. Both of us might be headed toward the same goal but my mind often times goes about it in a very different way.

Example of giving me instructions:

When I was in high school the teacher gave us a writing assignment. She stated that the essay was to be 10 pages long, double spaced. I had absolutely no idea what double spaced meant at the time yet my brain interpreted this to mean a 10 page paper with two spaces in between each word. I remember turning in my paper thinking I had done a decent job only to have the teacher laugh at me. When you think about it though, I had probably written about twice as much as any other student there but instead I was ridiculed and made to feel inferior for the simple mistake I had made.

Directions

Example of me giving someone else instructions:

So in my job I used a lot of computer programs. I am able to use this with a lot of speed and navigate through the menus without any difficulty. So when I am told to explain to another person how to do something, I often leave out a lot of information that the person might need to know.

Say I am told to explain how to make certain reports. I might explain it by saying, click reports, enter in dates, and pull the report you want it to create. When they come back to me and wonder why they can’t pull a certain report, I realize there are maybe 5-10 steps that you have to do before being able to even access the reports. By that time they are upset because they think I think they are stupid, or that I am trying to make them fail by explaining it badly. Nothing could be further from the truth, I literally just don’t consider those small steps that must be done since I am so used to just doing those, its second nature to me and in my mind it should be to them as well.

Anyway, I hope I have done these things justice and maybe you understand a bit more about me than you did before. There is much more topics that I will go into during coming weeks, months and years. Thank you for reading!