BaalChatzaf

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  1. BaalChatzaf
    I was a child in thd late 30's and 40's. In those days neurological dysfunctions were not understood particularly well and there was a general intolerance to and for people who were "peculiar" and "touched in the head". Prior to 1950 there were no psychotgropic drugs to manage various neurological dysfunctions such as bi-polar disorder, schizhophrenia, severe depression (melancholia).
    Aspberger's was not even identified until 1944 by Doc Aspberger in Austria and did not enter mainstream classification of behavioral and neurological dysfunctions unti the 1980's. Here is an article on the subject:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspberger%27s...Characteristics
    Well anyway. Here I am, this kid growing up in an era when "strange' children were locked up in attics, electroshock therapy and lobotomy was all the fashion and there were insane asylums, not terribly advanced over St. Mary's of Bethlehem (Bedlam).
    My condition did not render me non-functional but it did make me somewhat "strange". I had an adult vocabulary by the age of 10, some very non-typical interests for an American kid (calculus and group theory?. That's weird). And I loved collecting facts. Any facts. I had a head full of crap that I like to talk about and that hardly anyone else wanted to hear.
    My peers sensed a difference. They called me "genius" (not intended as a complement), "nutso", "big-brain" and such like. Like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer I did not get invited to play in many Reindeer Games. As a result the only athletics I could participate in were individual activities such as running, high jumping and other track and field stuff. My peers, in addition to mocking me also enjoyed beating me up so I learned how to fight well and dirty at an early age. After breaking a few wrists and ribs, my antagonists stopped beating me up.
    I had some trouble relating to teachers. What could my geometry teacher Miss Talmidge do, when I brought up non-Euclidean geometry in class? And my algebra teacher in 8-th grade when I mentioned non-commutative algebras and linear vector spaces? Fortunately in highschol I had three teachers who were PhD's and ended teaching highschool primarily because of the Depression. I was able to relate to them and they helped me out a great deal.
    Let's see. I highschool I had exactly one date and that was a fix-up with a young lady whose face would not only stop a clock but also cause it to run backward. Oh well, no sweet puppy love for me. So it goes.
    Ah yes. I soon caught on that I was a non-standard issue. Think of me as a member of the choir who could not sing on key. I realized that I had to find a way to adapt socially just to avoid troublesome conflict to I approached the problem as a person who found himself a strange in a strange land. First learn the habits, customs and language of the natives. So by a conscious effort I forumulated a set of rules to regulate my behavior that put me less at odds with my peers. In a word, I learned to pass for normal or I tried to. I did not fully succeed until my 30's when I could comfortably assume the appearance and behavior of an N.T. (neuro typicall). Now I am in my seventies and like that character played by Jeff Bridges in -Starman- I have become a planet earth person, as far as externals go.
    Now you might think it non courageous for me to adapt to the N.T. hoi poloi, but think about it. At least 80 percent of the people I have to live with, deal with, relate to are N.T.s. Since I am the odd one, the burden of adaptation is on me. But in my heart and the private places within I am the rule-based organic android I always was. I just do not let it out often, because it causes too much trouble. Even my dear wife of nearly 52 years (its just gotta be love) sometimes loses patience with my literal nature. My main deficiency is that I do not always get hits and non-verbal cues and clues. Fortunately my wife who is not only my Friend, but my Keeper ass well, gives me the scoop and prevents me from making a complete ass of myself.
    So, Kit, if you are listening, don't worry overmuch about your son. If he is a smart lad, he will eventually work out a rule based coping strategy. I am sure his intellect is first rate and intact. He will just have to learn how to use it as a Swiss Army Tool. He should be o.k.
    Ba'al Chatzaf
  2. BaalChatzaf
    I will make the first posting to my blog.
    1. I always wanted a blog. Now I have one. Thank you, MSK.
    2. Here is place for mindless people like me. I have Aspberger's syndrome, a neural variant found in about 20 percent of the U.S. population. Our intellectual machinery does not work quite the same way as for Neuro-Typicals (you guys).
    3. People like me tend to trades and professions that are rule-based and are rewarding to the literal minded. There are a lot of Aspies in the computer and software business along with high functioning autistic folk.
    4. We tend not to read between the lines, but take things at face value, often literally. Such is our nature.
    Us Aspies (that is what Aspberger people call themselves) are not prone to introspection and are solidly brain-based. I personally, do not believe there is a self standing substance (res cogitens) which constitutes the Mind. I believe firmly that Mind is an operation and attribute of Matter, in particular the Matter of the the sentient brain. The Mind (I believe) is the working of the brain or parts thereof and not the manifestation of some entity or substance that is not subject to physical laws. In short I reject Caresian Duality in the entirety and I concur with Demikritos and Lucippus that the world consists of matter/energy doing its thing in space and time.
    This tendency toward literalness is often annoying to the NT's (Neuro-Typicals) and has produced a certain amount of pain for me (other Aspies report similar experience). This includes being shunned, mocked and even beaten up. Even today in my old age, I am accused by some of being stubborn and annoying just to be annoying. They tell me that I know better. Actually I don't know better and that is the point. I have discovered empirically that Objectivists sometimes react with hostility to folks like the Aspies and accuse of us being Evil Evaders ™. Such is not the case. We cannot see what we cannot see. One does not blame the blind for not seeing. It is neither just nor fair to do so.
    Aspies have no ectoplasmic bats in their belfries nor ghosts in their attic. There is no ghost in our machine, the Cartesian theater is closed and we are made of the same stuff as animals, vegetables and minerals. No Mind (as a separate entity), no Soul, no Ghosts. Hume had us pegged correctly.
    Ba'al Chatzaf
  3. BaalChatzaf
    Here is an article from -Wired- indicating a synergy between the aspie world and the world of computer software.
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html
    I have seen estimates that hypothesize that as many as 20 percent of the males in the computer software business are either aspies or auties.
    Ba'al Chatzaf
  4. BaalChatzaf
    A clue to one's nature can be inferred from his favorite characters and heroes.
    My favorite fictional characters:
    Andrew Martin, the android in -Bicentennial Man-, played by Robbin Williams.
    Sarek and Spock, the son of Sarek. I dig Sarek. He married an earth woman and was happy to do so. I relate to that. I too married an earth woman.
    Data, the android in ST:TNG. His naivete reminds me a great deal of my childhood before I learned to pass for human.
    In -Atlas Shrugged- my faves were Franscisco and Ragnar. I could actually get a "feel" for these two. Reardon was a bit disappointing. He let the world grind him down and he only saved himself at the end. John Galt, I simply could not get a grip on. I consider him a place holder that Rand constructed for her hero. He never was quite real to me.
    Among the real life people, my favorite guy was Richard Feynman.
    Among the people I knew the three high school teachers, Gabe Helman., Joe Louden and Bob Hunter. They were PhD's who ended up teaching senior division in High School. BTW, Albany Highschool, which I attended scooped up more New York State scholarships than any other school in the state and that includes the famous Bronx Highschool of Science. We had a very sharp student body on the academic track.
    In college my favorite man was Abe Gelbart, professor of mathematics who made it posible for me to take graduate courses in mathematics from my Sophmore/Junior year on. I did Sophmore and Junior in one year by going to summer school, so I graduated one year earlier than the rest of my class (class of 1958). Abe is dead and gone now, but if there is an after life he is busy spending it proving theorems.
    In my college career it was inevitable that I would end up meeting and greeting the auties and aspies. I met several. We recognized each other and what we were on sight. It made my Freshman year a tad less lonely. In fact I share dormitory quarters with an aspie, Jay Brisk, who was in addition to being an aspie, was as crazy as a loon. A very interesting year.
    My favorite N.T. (next to my wife) was Shorty White, who was a cottage mate of my wife-to-be. She fixed me up with my wife. I owe her. Shorty, wherever you are, I love you to pieces.
    My wife lived in a co-op cottage on campus and when we started dating she saw to it that I got two good home-style meals a week at the cottage. I found out what kind of cook my wife was and is -before- we got married. That is so neat! To the girls at the Cottage, my love and gratitude for friendship and some damned good meals.
    Ba'al Chatzaf